In a national survey on marital strengths, the top characteristic in 90% of happy couples was satisfaction on how they communicate. In contrast, only 15% percent of unhappy couples felt their communication was a strong aspect of their partnership.

Marriage can be incredibly nourishing and enduring. It can also be a space of disappointment, frustration and conflict.

Learning to effectively communicate with your spouse is one of the best efforts you can make to building a lasting, healthy, and mutually enjoyable relationships.

Regardless if you're newly weds, or partners approaching decades, here are four seriously simple strategies you can use TODAY to improve your relationship right away.

Four seriously simple strategies to instantly improve your communication

1. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason

Listen twice as long as you speak. By doing this you will be showing your spouse by your actions that they are worth listening to and what they are saying is important. If you need a timer to help the two of you out grab an app on your phone and set it.

2. Let your spouse know what you heard them say to you

Repeat it back. Let your spouse know what you heard them say to you. You can do this by saying, "What I heard you say was"".

This is so important. Don't overlook this as it will help both of you clarify any misunderstandings.

3. Wait for affirmation

At this point your spouse will either affirm that you heard them correctly or share more insights if you didn't catch everything that was said.

Don't get frustrated if your spouse shares more insights with you. Take a deep breath, relax and don't get defensive. Your spouse is wanting that deep emotional intimacy that connects the two of you together.

4. Team up to create a plan that will positively impact your marriage

After you've listened, repeated back what you heard from your spouse and waited for affirmation that you understood them correctly, your next step is to decide as a team how to resolve everything. Together, come up with a plan of action that will positively impact your marriage that you both feel heard, honored and respected.

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