No one gets married expecting it to end in divorce, but unfortunately, this is the case all too often. If you are facing a divorce, it is important to have a communication strategy in place to have the best outcome possible. These ten tips for effective communication can make a big difference in how your divorce unfolds:
Tip #1 — Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Open communication is essential for a smooth divorce. It is defined as communication that is respectful, honest, and clear. You and your spouse should feel free to share your thoughts and feelings with each other without fear of judgment.
Communicating openly makes us more likely to come to a mutually beneficial resolution. On the contrary, closed communication during a divorce can lead to more conflict and a longer, more drawn-out process. For example, failing to communicate about important decisions can make one spouse feel blindsided when they discover a major life change after the fact. The transparency that comes with open communication can help to avoid this type of conflict.
Tip #2 — Avoid Using “You” Statements
In any communication, avoiding “you” statements is essential. These statements begin with the word “you” and usually imply blame. For example, “you never listen to me” or “you always forget important dates.” When we use “you” statements, we immediately put the other person on the defensive. This kind of communication is not conducive to a productive conversation.
Instead of “you” statements, try to use “I” statements. These are statements that express how you feel without placing blame on the other person. For example, “I feel like I’m not being heard” or “I feel like my needs are not being met.” Using “I” statements can help to diffuse a tense situation and open up the conversation so that you can both express your needs.
Tip #3 — Avoid Using Absolutes
When we use absolutes in our language, we are closing off the conversation. For example, saying “You always” or “You never” is an absolute that doesn’t leave room for discussion. Instead of using absolutes, try to use more neutral language. For example, “I would really like to work on this relationship together” or “Can we please try to communicate better?” These kinds of statements express your needs without shutting down the conversation.
Tip #4 — Pay Attention to Your Tone
Your tone of voice is just as important as the words you use when you are communicating with your spouse. If your tone is harsh, defensive, or accusatory, it will only make the situation worse by putting your spouse on the defensive. Instead, try to use a more neutral or even-toned voice. This will help to keep the conversation calm and constructive. This doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with your spouse, but it does mean that you should try to avoid escalating the situation.
Tip #5 — Avoid Using “Fight Words”
Fight words are words that are designed to hurt or provoke the other person. They are usually personal attacks or criticisms that are not constructive. For example, “you’re a terrible father” or “you’re lazy and worthless.” These words only serve to make the situation worse and will not help you to resolve your differences. While it can be tempting to use fight words in the heat of the moment, it is important to try to avoid them for the greater good of your relationship to prevent further damage during this already difficult time.
Tip #6 — Take a Break If You Need To
If you find that you are getting too emotional or are not able to communicate effectively, it may be helpful to find a pocket of time and take a break. This doesn’t mean that you have to end the conversation, but it does mean that you should find time to calm down before continuing. You can agree to take a break for an hour, a day, or even longer if needed. This gives you both time and space to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Tip #7 — Don’t Forget to Listen
In any conversation, it is important to remember to listen as well as to speak. This can be especially difficult during a divorce because there are often a lot of emotions involved. However, try to listen to what your spouse is saying without interrupting or becoming defensive. This can be a difficult task but try to see your spouse’s perspective and understand their needs. If your spouse feels like they are being heard, they will be more likely to listen to you and try to understand your needs as well.
Tip #8 — Try to Be Understanding
It’s normal to feel angry, hurt, and even vengeful during a divorce. However, you should try to be understanding of your spouse’s perspective. They may feel the same way you are and may also struggle to cope with the situation. If you can be more understanding and compassionate, it will go a long way towards healing the wounds of your divorce.
Tip #9 — Be Patient
The process of divorce can be long and drawn out, so remember to be patient. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with everything that your spouse says or does, but it does mean that you should try to be respectful and avoid getting into arguments. If you can be patient and keep the lines of communication open, it will make the process much easier for both of you.
Tip #10 — Seek Professional Help
If you struggle to communicate effectively with your spouse, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can help you to learn how to communicate better and can support you during this difficult time. A Springfield divorce lawyer can also help you to understand the legal process and can represent you in court if necessary.
Overall, communication is key during a divorce. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that the process is as smooth and as amicable as possible.