How to Stop Interrupting Your Spouse

All marriage experts agree that good communication skills (not interrupting) are a key component to a healthy marriage relationship. Whenever Jim and I facilitate pre-marriage classes, communication is one of the main topics covered in the very first lesson! After 33+ years of marriage, Jim and I believe we communicate fairly well:

  • We focus on the other person when they are speaking.
  • “You always” and “you never” are phrases we avoid using.
  • Respect for one another’s opinions is paramount!
  • Hurtful, angry words are not part of our vocabulary.

One bad tendency, though, that we both needed to address was the habit of interrupting one another. For example, if Jim and I were in conversation with ourselves or with others, and the conversation was interesting, we’d be eager to contribute to it with our own thoughts and ideas.  The problem was, we’d be so eager to speak that I would interrupt Jim and he’d do the same with me! 

Jim and I talked about the lack of respect we felt when we were interrupted and decided to stop the interrupting! We put together a simple but very effective solution that worked really well!

We introduced a “secret code word” to our conversations!

Here’s how it worked:

Let’s say Jim and I were chatting and I interrupted him. Jim would respond to me with  “Absolutely!” That was our secret code word to let the other person know “You just interrupted me!” For example,

Friend: “Hi Jim and Carrie! It’s good to see you. How is the family doing?”

Carrie: “We are doing well! Five of our sons are now married and we have…”

Jim: (interrupting) “We are the proud grand-parents of 8 grandchildren with one more on the way!”

Carrie: (smiling) “Absolutely! Our family is growing!”

Did you notice how I used the code word? Our friend didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary because “absolutely” naturally fits into the conversation but Jim heard me use the code word and was immediately reminded not to interrupt!

If you and your spouse struggle with interrupting one another, why not give our “Absolutely” solution a try!