Communication is one of the main keys that keeps all of this together. From day one I’ve been adamant about communicating my feelings and thoughts to Matt. This included good things and bad things, especially since I felt it was necessary for him to know and understand everything that I was going through and feeling. This was not always easy but I felt important so that both of us could discuss how we were feeling and the approach we wanted to take to situations.
As we got to know Mark better we found that there were unique challenges in communicating with him. We recently found out (4 months ago) that he has a Asperger’s Syndrome. He was not aware that he had that condition either. He had been socially awkward and struggled with many communication skills that seemed to come naturally to most people. I figured that we could work through it as we live and learn. This obviously was very frustrating at times. Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism and people can fall on different points of the scale. A lot of signs and symptoms that Mark had were more subtle so it was not obvious that he had this condition. Now that we know, it does help to explain and understand a lot of his behavior and mannerisms. As I mentioned he did come with some significant communication challenges. In an attempt to strengthen the relationship and better communicate with Mark I did try some various things that I want to share with you in hopes that it may be able to strengthen communication in your relationship or life. These are some things that I tried with both Matt and Mark to communicate better that we have had success with.
Of course, we all talked, but I would plan out and seek discussions with each one of them and both of them together. It’s important to be on the same page and for everyone to understand how each other feels. If one of us is having an issue, sometimes it is best for us to all three of us to discuss it and work through it together. Sometimes it’s necessary for me to do this one-on-one with them and then come together later if needed.
We would have a special designated time or place to meet and communicate. Mark and I regularly go to a coffee shop and have a conversation over coffee. Matt and I often have a discussion while we cuddle at night before bed or when we wake up in the morning before we start our day. These are both times and places that each of them feel safe and comfortable and able to express what is on their mind.
Mark and I created a special black book together. This is a book that I got with an inspirational quote on the front cover. I got this book to write down what I was feeling and thinking about as it relates to the relationship with Mark. I would write down my hopes and plans along with some of the challenges that we were working through. I would then give the book to Mark and he would write the same and we would pass it back-and-forth. There is some very good information in it that we have looked back on over the years. We have been amazed by how we felt early on in the relationship and how much is still applies right now. This can take some time and dedication to do but completely worth it if you want to strengthen your communication and see how it evolves over the years.
I also created a picture memory book for each one of them. This is a book that I made specifically one for Mark and one for Matt. I printed out a whole bunch of pictures and memories that I have for each one of them and put it in their book. I would write a description or a memory that had happened that relates to that picture. When I’m feeling down or discouraged about the relationship and I need a boost I will refer back to these memory books and remember the good times we had together. We tend to take a lot of pictures of what we do and where we go so this book is really fun to create and look back upon.
Another way we have strengthened our communication is to learn communicating skills together. Matt bought a book on communicating in a marriage. When we travel all together we will go over certain parts of this book and discuss what is significant and what can apply to us. For me, I had to learn how to communicate nicely when I become angry. When we are not being understood we can let our tempers get in the way of trying to communicate what we are trying to say. I am aware of this and do try to practice communicating nicely. We also try to avoid blaming each other. It’s easy to point fingers at someone and say they are the cause of this or that. This can be very destructive if it leads to one any of us feeling attacked. Matt rarely ever gets upset about anything but when he does get mad it’s usually over feeling that his character is being attacked. This is a trigger for him so we try to communicate in a way where he does not feel like that. This has taken a lot of communication and practice to put into better use.
Try to be a good listener. So much of communication is missed because we are not listening to each other. We try to each express our concerns, feelings, thoughts, and or plans. Many times I just want the boys to understand how I feel and then I feel better. They both have improved their listening skills and we all communicate better because of it.
Matt often leaves me sweet little notes to find and read. This makes me feel loved and special. I do the same for him. Mark will randomly send me a picture with a special meaning or memory and is sweet to both of us. This makes me feel thought of and desired. Find something special to do with the people you love and don’t stop doing it. Try to surprise them and make them feel special and loved.
There are many other ways to help communication and these are a few of the main ways it works for us.