1) Listen to what your spouse has to say, even if you disagree! Hold back from interrupting because quite frankly, it is very rude to interrupt people when they are trying to express themselves, even if they are expressing themselves in a negative way.
2) If there is anything ambiguous that your spouse said to you then have them clear it up so you do understand. What’s the use in listening if you aren’t really hearing?
2) Once they’re done talking its now you’re turn. Don’t fingerprint, blame, or accuse your spouse of any wrong doing, even if you think they are wrong! There is a special way you communicate your feelings without them becoming defensive and denying what you said about them.
3) Keep an even tone as your speak. Don’t sound whiny, squeaky, naggy, or yell and scream at your spouse. That’s abusive!
4) Use sentences that start with “I feel,” “I wish” and “I think.” Don’t tell your spouse how they feel and don’t tell them what they should do or what they are. How do you know any of those things if you aren’t them? Let them tell you how they feel.
5) If you are too angry to talk with an even tone then you need to leave the room. Too much anger will not resolve the issue and will only make it worse.
6) Be sure you know your own feelings before telling your spouse your feelings. What are your needs? What do you need rectified from this argument? What do you want from your spouse? What are you going to do to help rectify the issue at hand?
7) Don’t keep your feelings and needs inside. Bottled up feelings cause resentment and anger. Resentment is a marriage destroyer. Resentment will also hurt your spiritual lives tremendously because it keeps you bitter inside and distant from God.
8) Be assertive with how you feel and what you want. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings about issues in marriage. This is the number one problem why couples grow apart—it is because they DO grow apart—they don’t know one another anymore. If you don’t talk with your spouse about how you feel and what you need then how on earth can they even begin to oblige themselves to you?
9) Realize you may or may not get every need or want met through your spouse. Some needs and wants are not the responsibility of your spouse. Your spouse can’t make you 100 percent happy all of the time. That is just asking for too much. Find ways that you can make yourself happy through God, community, hobbies, and serving others—there is always happiness found there.
If you happen to know that you are an angry person or if you know you are resentful, come out of yourself and begin doing things for others and this will help you to look at your old self and see how wrong it was to treat others so badly. That’s not who you are, that’s who you are making yourself become. But you do not have to be an angry person because God has given us all with the ability to be loving people. It happens through our relationship with Jesus.
10) Be sure to do the things you can to encourage, support, and show appreciation of the person you married. Don’t hold back your love. Learn to compromise, communicate, and to come up with solutions to the issues that are affecting your marriage.
All of the suggestions above is actually being assertive and will improve your marriage immensely. Being assertive with your feelings and needs lets your spouse know the person they married. It allows them to either give in to those needs or at least talk to you about them so you can both come up with an amicable solution. Assertiveness frees you from holding in bottled up emotions and later getting resentful, or worse, being abusive with your loved ones.
Being assertive makes you happy, which makes your spouse happy. Assertiveness is the way to productive communication. This is why I highly recommend that the reader of this article print it out and read it together with their spouse. Ask God to help you with your angry emotions. Remember marriage is a partnership and it takes two to tango just like it takes two to stay married.