Bumpy Marriage? Have You Tried These Communication Exercises?
Without strong communication skills, any relationship is prone to fading. We all know that a healthy relationship works because it has a strong foundation, which also includes respect, trust, love, and communication. Communication exercises for couples are very important, especially if you want to understand your partner better.
It’s one of the most important ingredients for having a healthy relationship. Relationship communication exercises could truly make a difference in the way you communicate. You will have a better understanding and a more harmonious relationship. The very first step always relies on intention.
You need to want to understand each other better. Don’t feel pressured or lose hope just because you need these exercises; no one learned how to communicate effectively from scratch. Truth be told, it’s something you need to constantly work on. As the years go by, it can either strengthen or decline. Here are a couple of exercises that could definitely improve the communication between you two:
Couple exercise #1: relaxing fireside chats
Thanks to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, this definition managed to become widespread. Fireside chats are nothing but friendly talk with someone in front of a relaxing fireplace. The whole atmosphere is meant to symbolize warmth, openness, and a proper atmosphere for deep conversations.
It’s also one of the best communication-building activities for couples who really wish to set aside their differences and focus on the things they truly love. You can start strengthening your bond by talking first. You can reminisce about memories from your childhood, favorite foods, bucket lists in life, and many other things. Just think of it as a “safe” conversation or even a warm-up.
Couple exercise #2: share your emotions
Another great communication exercise for couples that you need to indulge in is sharing your emotions. For many of us, this might not come easily, and it might even take many years until we are fully able to share our feelings.
To encourage and nurture your marriage, you might want to consider going on a couples’ retreat and expressing your innermost emotions and vulnerable parts with your loved one. It will definitely help you understand each other better, and it will only make the marriage stronger.
Learning and adhering to these exercises will help you deal with sensitive issues in the long run. At times, poor communication does way more than limit your ability to deal with common issues.
Couple exercise #3: communication is taking turns
One lesson we should embrace when it comes to effective communication is that we need to take turns. This communication exercise for couples fixes just that. Get a timer and set it for 3-5 minutes, then choose who’s the bravest to go first. Start the timer and start pouring in your thoughts.
Make sure you don’t interrupt each other! The other partner can’t talk because it’s not their turn yet. However, they can show non-verbal signs to confirm they acknowledge, understand, and have empathy for your thoughts and feelings.
This will teach the couple to respect their partner’s time and listen while patiently waiting for their turn. It will also show respect. As soon as the timer goes off, reset it, and it’s the other person’s turn.
Couple exercise #4: make eye contact
We might have seen this with a couple of communication exercises and the help of a therapist, but you could also do it in the comforts of your own home. Just get two chairs and position them facing each other. Also, make sure you are in a room with no distractions.
Try to ask your partner to sit down. Sit down for five minutes, without talking. Just face each other and try to look into each other’s eyes. The couple needs to allow their thoughts to work solely on eye contact at the given time. No actions or verbal communication. Then, look at your partner. What do you see? How do you feel?
Couple Exercise #5: What I Like and Don’t Like About You
Marriage communication exercises are meant to enhance the love connection between you two and also improve marriage communication. In this particular exercise, both partners need to resort to a quiet place and list three things they like or dislike about their spouse.
Then the spouse gets his or her turn, too. When it’s your partner’s turn, praise them for their qualities and explain exactly why you dislike the other ones. Naturally, you need to do your best not to get offended and take the feedback lightly.
And remember that the aim is to work on your communication. This exercise has been proven to be one of the most effective communication activities for married people because it helps strengthen their communication.
Couple Exercise #6: Using I instead of You
When you’re having an argument, you probably use words like “you,” “should,” and “could.” Well, all these words make the other person feel attacked. In return, they might get defensive toward you. This might also cause the argument to get even bigger, with no one listening to the underlying issue.
Another assertive communication exercise for couples is simply to change the words you use. This way, your partner might understand that the main issue is that you are not okay and want to be heard.
Couple exercise #7: “Remember that time when you said…”
Relationship communication exercises will also help make you more comfortable with each other. When you’ve finally established this, you can try this exercise. It’s a communication exercise that will test and improve your empathy.
You need to list three statements or words previously used, especially in any disagreement you might have had before that was hurtful to either party. Once you’re done, you will be able to work together and see if you can reformat how you said it more respectfully.
Couple exercise #8: words are blades that hurt
Do you still remember those words that your partner said to you that were deeply hurtful and disrespectful? If you both did this at one point, you might want to create a list and read it out loud. Then, each of you will have to take turns explaining in what way those words affected them negatively. Sometimes, we say words we don’t mean because we’re angry. We rarely realize how bad those words can be.
Couple Exercise #9: Trust and Listen Game
This one’s a bit intricate but still interesting. So one partner needs to create a fun obstacle course with “mines and bombs,” while the other partner is blindfolded. Using verbal cues, the creator of that obstacle guides the blindfolded one through the course.
But the trick is that they have to make sure they don’t step on the “bombs.” What will you need for this exercise? A lot of trust, good listening skills, and a proper way to communicate.
Couple exercise #10: copy me
Another fun exercise that you might enjoy is the “copy me” exercise. Just sit back to back and have the same set and number of building blocks. Then, create a structure and instruct others only through words. Make sure you don’t look! This exercise will build trust and active listening, but it will also improve the way you use words. Ultimately, you can work together to achieve the same goal.
Well, all this intentional play might increase your appetite for more. If that’s the case, you should read “Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs” by Gina Senarighi PhD CPC.
If you found this article useful, then you definitely need to try this one, too: