Communicating with others in ways that matter

Published 5:31 pm Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dear Leah,

I grew up thinking men are supposed to be strong and silent. I’ve been learning lately that in order to have a healthy marriage, I need to open up more. Do you have any advice about how I can start communicating with my spouse in ways that matter? 

— Opening Up

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Dear Opening Up,

The idea that men should be strong and silent is just as ridiculous as expecting children to be seen and not heard! I’m glad you’ve moved past what has been a very limiting belief system.

Leah Albert

Leah Albert

Communication is the key to any good relationship, yet it is often the most difficult barrier to overcome.

We all grow up with a different understanding of how to carry on a conversation and if one should speak or remain silent in certain situations. There are so many variations of how words are used it’s amazing we can even understand each other at times!

I would like to give you credit for getting to a point where you realize you need to communicate with your wife on a different level. This shows you are emotionally mature and sensitive to her needs.

If your wife isn’t used to regular or in-depth conversations with you, this new journey may go one of two ways (with several potential variations): She will either fully embrace the opportunity or not know how to respond.

I recommend you are intentional about setting aside time or finding a location where you can be alone with each other. There are so many distractions in the life of a marriage that it’s easy to let meaningful communication with each other slip by the wayside. If you haven’t practiced it for a while, or at all, you will need to create space (physically and emotionally) so you can focus.

You can choose to elevate the situation a little with wine or a picnic lunch and include chocolate, which naturally raises levels of endorphins and creates a sense of relaxation.

An easy way to connect with each other is to share stories you haven’t shared before about your childhood or memories about experiences in life that were meaningful for you.

Take time to truly listen to each other — make sure you are engaging in regular eye contact and wait until your wife is finished speaking before you talk. Ask her questions or ask her to elaborate about how she felt or what lessons she learned from the experience.

As you become comfortable, you can start to talk about your dreams for the future or accomplishments you’d like to have before you leave this Earth, i.e. “bucket list.”

There are conversation starters available online with some really fun suggestions for how to keep things fresh and interesting as you begin to explore your relationship. A couple examples are: If I had it to do over, I would propose to you by… or The world’s best anniversary trip would be to go to…

You will find that, by being intentional about connecting on a regular basis, your day to day communication will be more engaging and fun and add a level of excitement to your marriage that may have been lacking for a while. Enjoy each other!


Leah Albert is a fictitious character. She likes wine and writing. Don’t ask her to be a matchmaker. Do send your questions to Leah at