A farmer went to an attorney to get help in acquiring a divorce.

The lawyer said to him, “Do you have any grounds?”  The farmer replied, “Yup, I’ve got about three hundred acres.”

The lawyer said, “You’re not understanding me. Do you have any case?” The farmer said, “No, I don’t have a Case, but I do have a John Deere, and that’s what I farm my three hundred acres with.”

The lawyer tried again: “No, no, no. You’re still not understanding me. Do you have a grudge?” To which the farmer replied, “Yup, that’s where I keep my John Deere.”

“You’re still not understanding me,” said the lawyer. “Do you beat your wife up?” The farmer answered, “Nope, she gets up at five o’clock just like I do.”

Finally, the frustrated lawyer said, “Sir, I’m trying to find out if you have any reason for getting a divorce.”

“Well,” said the farmer. “You see, we have this communication problem.”

~ from Wayne and Carol Mack. Sweethearts for a Lifetime: Making the Most of Your Marriage

Tips to develop clear communication with your spouse

Getting around to clear communication.

When you and your spouse spend time together, do you really understand what the other person is saying?  Sometimes a conversation is a hit-and-miss experience in the pursuit of clear communication.

Keep asking questions till you fully understand what your spouse is communicating – the details, the background and the underlying emotion.

Use prompts and phrases like:

  • … help me understand …
  • … what’s important about this to you …
  • … tell me more …
  • … what are you hoping …
  • … if you could change one thing …

Do you have phrases that create clarity in your communication?

Clear communication takes effort. Start by looking at your spouse, Body language is a part of communication, so don’t forget to uncross your arms, and lean toward your spouse.

When we mentor couples we encourage them to turn their chairs toward each other until their knees are touching. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to be so close but it makes a difference in the way they communicate. It makes it easier to touch each other and to be clear because all their attention is on each other.

Need to start a conversation? Begin with a sincere compliment. Need ideas to talk about? Try this post. Or this one.

Here’s the book the story was from – it’s a practical and easy to read book on marriage.