Communication Tips for Tired Parents

Once you bring a new baby to a relationship, you have less time, energy, and patience for your partner. Many couples find that they start having more trouble in their marriage after a baby comes along even if they feel the baby has brought them closer together. It’s a confusing paradox! This is when getting really good at listening and understanding each other makes a big impact on daily life and the wellbeing of your new family.

One thing that has made the most impact in my marriage communication

My husband and I have been married for 13 years now, and like most of us, we have had our share of troubles both before and after we started our family. There have been many times when we have felt hopeless about resolving our conflicts.

When we would argue, early on in our marriage nothing would ever get resolved, and we would end up yelling and someone one would end up slamming doors or storming off.

This happened so consistently I could count on it. I came to know that when our tone of voices turned sour, we would soon be in that ugly, painful place. If we could actually resolve things it wouldn’t be so bad, but it was never the case. In fact, more hurt would be created from the yelling and storming out.

Getting regular consistent marriage counseling has never been in our budget. We did see a counselor for a short time a few years ago and we learned a method for communicating that has made it possible for us to no longer flip out and to actually resolve things, no matter how difficult.

This is a step-by-step method for better marriage communication called Imago developed by marriage therapy expert and author Harville Hendricks.

The Three Steps of Imago Dialogue:

  1. Mirroring
  2. Empathy
  3. Validation

I won’t explain this in detail here, but once you learn this together either through a book, workshop, or with a therapist, you and your partner can use this for the rest of you life. Whenever my husband and I have difficult things to talk about, we use this method.  It’s been a lifesaver. Here are the exact instructions on how to do Imago Dialogue.

This method really works but it is a skill and it takes practice. Often times there is one person who is asking for improvements in the marriage, as long as the other partner is willing you can get a lot of mileage out of this tool. In my marriage I am the one who will say “I need to use our IMAGO for this talk,” however we both always come away from these talks feeling like we both learned and resolved issues simply by taking the time to go through the steps.

This is one of those tools that is so simple yet can be hard to do because it takes you out of the drama of conflict and actually into connecting with your partner.  Take the time and learn this process. It’s a really valuable investment for your marriage!

Mariana Kurko

Mari is a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine, a singer/songwriter and the creator of Mamashine. She is also a survivor of postpartum depression. Mari lives with her energetic son, her husband and various animals in Austin, TX.

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