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A Quick Communication Tune-up for Your Marriage by Jeff and Jill Williams

Jan 5th, 2011 | By | Category: Family Coaching Center

It’s early in the New Year, and a good time to tune up communication for a great year of marriage!  Some basic coaching skills and process can be helpful.  What?  You don’t need a tune-up?  Ok, then please skip to the comments section and share a few tips with the rest of us.  But if you’re open to a couple of reminders, keep reading.

Jill called me into her office the other day to show a clip of Naomi and Wynonna Judd, famous country music mother and daughter, on Oprah from this past September (see link below*).  Maybe you know they’ve had a sometimes strained relationship.  Well, it’s better after some therapy and implementation of a few tips for communication.  They were good reminders for us.  Maybe they’ll be helpful to you too!

  1. Ask, “Is this a good time to talk?” – The idea here is to co-create the best scenario for a conversation.  How many times have you charged into something only to regret that you didn’t better plan how and when to have the conversation?  We find it helpful to bring closure to tasks we’re already involved in and/or to care for comfort needs (food, drink, restroom) before tackling challenging or potentially emotional conversations.
  2. Mirror what your spouse says to you. – Actively listen by paraphrasing the gist of what your partner seems to want you to hear.  Oprah emphasized the importance of this by sharing how her assistant has made mirroring a standard for communications at HARPO Productions.  “We want to make sure that we each hear what the speaker wanted us to hear.”  The further Jill and I go in marriage the more important this seems to be.  We suggest that you make mirroring a habit in all of your conversations.
  3. Ask for “DoOvers” – When it’s not going well, or if a conversation has gone poorly, humble yourself to ask for a “do-over”.  “Can we try to do that over?  Can we start at the beginning?”  We really appreciate when the other quickly grants a second chance.  This seems particularly important if tone of voice or other mannerisms have polluted the listener’s ability to clearly hear and understand the content.  “You sound irritated, and so I’m having trouble listening.”  A great response would be, “I’m sorry.  Can I try that again?”  We know of couples that will literally walk out the door (or doorway) to pretend that they are coming into the room again to try the conversation from the beginning!

Here’s to a great year of communicating more clearly, kindly and compassionately with those you love and who love you!

Jeff and Jill


Jeff and Jill Williams write and speak about Marriage Coaching.  Together they privately coach couples and train groups of couples that want to coach marriages through a series of tele-classes that are accessible for any couple (globally) with a phone and internet connection.  Write to or call 937-717-5591 for more information.

Copyright 2011 Jeffrey J. Williams | Grace & Truth Relationship Education | Springfield| OH | 45503



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