Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

The Top 5 Books for Improving Your Marriage

The Christmas lights are packed up, and the paper hearts have been taken down; now we are all waiting for spring.  Whether things have been rocky at home, or you and your significant other are doing your best, here at South Denver Psychotherapy, we have a few books to help keep you, and your marriage, warm, cozy, and well-informed until bright, warm days arrive again.

 

 5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

 

 This book is a heavy weight in the self-help world, and it continues to be a staple for people from all walks of life. It may seem like an unlikely read for improving your relationships, but think about it -those who are successful and happy usually excel at navigating healthy relationships.

 

While some people say there are places where Covey drags, a read through of the chapter on Understanding (habit 5)  is a good way to learn the basics of communicating with those you love. It could even inspire you to read the rest of the book.

 

4. How Can I Forgive You? by Janis Abrahms Spring

 

How Can I Forgive You is a follow-up to Spring’s cornerstone work, After the Affair. Both are great reads and can be found on the shelves of a wide variety of therapists, psychologists, and counselors. As the title suggests, How Can I Forgive You? focuses on forgiveness in relationships.  It deals with how to forgive after a traumatic event, how to earn forgiveness, and the healthy steps you should take if forgiveness is not an option.

 

3. The Relationship Cure by John Gottman

 

John Gottman is here to teach you that it isn’t what you say, but how you say it, that matters. He explains this key principle in 5 steps sure to improve your relationships through better emotional connectedness. As he is one of the leading experts in relationships, his book, The Relationship Cure, is sure to help you grow and improve your friendships, family ties, and, of course, your marriage.

 

2.  The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real

 

Terrance Real dives into the trenches and tackles the everyday struggles couples face in today’s world. He is known for his work helping both sexes understand that conflict is normal and to communicate better. He promotes fighting fair, remembering passion, and establishing boundaries. This book is a great tool for any 21st century marriage and a perfect reference for two strong, capable partners.  

 

1.       The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

 

This is one of the classics! Learn which way you and your spouse show and best receive love, through acts, gifts, physical contact, or quality time. Once you learn which category you and your spouse fall under, you will be able to communicate better and find a balance so that both parties feel loved.

 

This book often shows up dog-eared and well-loved as it circulates among friends. It’s a great gift for couples, new and old alike.

 

We love helping you and your spouse thrive in a healthy and happy partnership, but as many of us know, marriage is hard work and constantly grows and change.  South Denver Psychotherapy is here to help you grow along the way. Don’t forget to do a little reading while you are at it.

 

Communication for Couples I

“We don’t communicate well!”

“We never talk.”

These are statements made in couples counseling that are fairly common. So the first question that has to be answered is: What is communication?

 

Many people don’t think about the fact that EVERYTHING one does communicates something. We think of communication as talking but the look on ones face, ignoring someone, body language, and the tone of voice can  speak louder than words.

 

If someone asks me a question and I take longer than usual to respond, it can be interpreted by the other person as me not hearing what was said, me ignoring what was said and farther, being hostile to what was said. I may be thinking about how to respond, be confused about what was said and trying to sort it out, I may by nature be more deliberate in my responses or indeed be ignoring the request.

 

It is helpful to go back to the last time you had a conflict that felt like miscommunications. Were you angry, disgusted or had you lost patience with that person? If so, in subtle (and maybe not so subtle) ways, you may have let them know of your feelings without telling them so you were both dealing with hidden messages. Think in your mind an alternative way that you could have communicated. Something like “I am really losing patience and I feel like you made a commitment to complete this and I don’t know what to do about it” instead of “When are you going to do this?” in an angry tone. This invites problem solving, you own your feelings, your not accusing the other of perceived motivations or emotions and there are no hidden messages.

 

If you work on this, over time your skills will get better. Have patience. It takes a while to get good at fully communicating in a way that encourages solutions. Have patience on your partner and give each other HUGE credit for trying and getting better.

 

More next time on “Communication for Couples”. Pam Kennel