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  • Kirsten Kyllingstad

Communication is Key

My ideal form of communication when there is an issue with my husband is “no.” I prefer to ignore each other for 3 days, being mad, and then eventually start talking to each other again and pretending like nothing happened. I hate confrontation. My husband likes to talk about a disagreement or miscommunication immediately and he will talk as long as is needed until an understanding is reached. I hate his way and he hates mine. And to be fair, my preference is really an unhealthy choice so he’s right there. His approach doesn’t work for me. I need time to cool off and think. Communicating with me immediately after an incident isn’t productive. And leaving it and ignoring it forever does not work for him. Which it shouldn’t.


We have different communication styles and preferences for conflict and what we have learned in 9.5 years is that we need to meet somewhere in the middle. He needs to give me space and I need to talk about it. I am still working at coming to that middle line. He has done a much better job of adapting his style. But I still know I need to work on it and value that communication must happen for a happy marriage. I hate the talks while they are happening. Hate them! But after we have come together and talked it through, we have a better understanding of the other person. A more honest understanding of our own behavior in the situation. That awkward feeling is gone, and we can just move on with our lives! Plus, it helps guide us in future interactions so that hopefully we avoid another disagreement or miscommunication.


Not everyone communicates the same way, but it is extremely important to communicate! And it is really important to communicate about a lot of things. Disagreements or miscommunications is just one aspect. But it is also important to talk about your short- and long-term goals. Where do you want to be in one year? Five? Twenty? What financial goals do you have? What does retirement look like to you? What are your beliefs for raising children if you want to have them? For many, these kinds of more serious talks can be scary, so they avoid them. If both people aren’t on the same page though, this can lead to arguments in the future. It is better to sit down and talk beforehand and hash things out. Especially finances. This is a topic that people often shy away from, but it affects so many aspects of our lives, it is important to have a shared vision. And check back in every once in awhile and make sure you still have that shared vision. Update as necessary.


The most important thing for a relationship to remain successful is to communicate. Take some time to do some self-reflection and think about what type of communicating is most successful for you, and what your partner prefers. If you feel like they are different ways, have some communication about communication! Come to an understanding of how you would like to communicate regarding important things and then strive to come to the middle line. It isn’t always easy if the other person has a completely different style, but it you are both trying, and keeping that other person in mind while still also honoring your own needs, it still counts.


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