Step #3 to Better Intimacy: Speaking Effectively

Have you ever been in a conversation where you feel like you are talking past each other and nothing you are saying is getting through?  What if you could reopen the connection simply by using a couple of simple effective speaking tools?


While 50% of communication is effective listening, the other 50% is effectively expressing our feelings, needs and thoughts. A quick check on each teammate’s part is to reflect how communication works –or doesn’t work — when either partner is annoyed, angry or frustrated.

Speaking patterns of blaming or accusing put the listener on the defensive and create a wedge in the relationship and intimacy. Using healthier ways to speak removes roadblocks and builds bridges for better connection. How is your communication working today? Click here to take a quick assessment.

“I couldn’t understand why my husband would always tell me that how I talked to him was rude. After hearing him say that one time too many, I decided to prove him wrong. One evening, without his knowledge, I recorded our evening interaction and conversation. A couple of days later I listened to the recording and to my amazement, he was right! No matter how much he told me I was rude, I never heard it myself, until “caught on tape”!
In MarriageTeam training everything clicked. We learned how our speech can put each other in defensive mode and when we are defensive, we do not hear anything that is being said.”
To read Carrie and Ulf’s full story, click here.

~ Carrie and Ulf Spears

MarriageTeam Coaches

The first step to effective communication is for the speaker to use I statements, particularly when there is a negative emotion about a behavior or situation.  I statements reduce the tendency of the listener to be defensive because they focus on the speaker’s feelings without placing blame.  I statements help the speaker accept responsibility for his/her feelings and helps create empathy with the listener.

The I statement formula for effective speaking:

  • Begin with the word “I”
  • State the feeling
  • Describe the behavior or situation without using the words “you” or “your”
  • Describe the impact the behavior or situation has on you/the speaker.

While this may seem awkward at first, I statements will significantly improve the quality of your communication.