1. Find a perfect timing. This may sound simplistic but first of all, if you want to get your spouse to discuss with you attentively and productively particularly on crucial matters, learn to time it when you think your spouse is in the best mood to talk with you. For example, if your spouse has just arrived from work and is very tired or hungry, s/he may need some time to relax and eat first before s/he can engage with you for a talk. Read your spouse's nuances and body language to get a perfect timing to communicate especially in dealing with serious and sensitive matters. It is also good to schedule a regular time to talk to each other. Some successful couples I know (including my parents who will be celebrating their golden wedding anniversary next year) do it every dawn when they are well rested and their minds are still fresh so that they can think very well.
2. Focus on the issue/s. Couples can resolve conflicts more easily if they stay focused on the issue. If there's more than one issue on a problem, resolve them one by one. Don't leave any issues unresolved or it may worsen the situation or it may lead to another problem. If it can't be solved at one sitting, it should be made clear to both parties that the rest of the issues will be discussed later. Focusing on the issues after identifying and recognizing them also help save time and come up with more sound solution to the problem.
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"All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take," Mohandas Gandhi wisely puts it which is applicable to all relationships and in communications. There are even times when we just need to be an "listener" but not necessary to say anything. Again, if both partners believe in the Christian perspective that "it is better to give than to receive," then there will be less conflicts in the relationship as both are willing to give, give, give.
Of course, the common denominator of all these three tips revolve around LOVE and RESPECT, the foundations of any marriage. You find a perfect timing because you love and respect your spouse. The same is true with focusing on the issue so you won't accuse your spouse of any baseless and irrelevant issues and call him/her names. And you compromise because of your love and respect for your partner. So if there's true love and mutual respect in both parties when communicating, screaming or hurting each other, or worse - parting ways - will be avoided.
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