Communicating with Somebody who Struggles to Communicate

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 Communication comes easy for me but is hard for my husband. Over the years, I have learned a few things that help us with communication. It’s a work in progress and we have come a long way from where we began. Here are some things that work for us…

  1. Ask yes and no questions. Sometimes when somebody struggles with communication, it’s easier on them to answer yes or no to a question instead of coming up with answers. Example – “Do you want to go to the party tonight or no?”
  2. Give 2-3 choices. I find it helpful to narrow answers down. If we are picking out a place to eat, it’s easier to pick from a handful of places instead of endless choices. Example – “Would you like to go to Chick-Fil-A, Red Robins or Cracker Barrel?”
  3. Give him time to think about it. Mention it in the morning. Send a text in the afternoon. Talk about it at night.  I find this helpful because it gives him time to think and pull his thoughts together. Example – Morning – “I want to talk about how we disciple our toddler in this situation.” Afternoon – Text – Just reminding you to think about ways we can discipline him and we can talk tonight. After kids are in bed – “Were you able to think of ways to discipline? What did you come up with?”
  4. Do not put him on the spot for a decision in front of others. When I ask him a question in front of everybody, he clams up. He may want to say no but feel pressured to say yes. I try to avoid asking questions in public and pull him aside and ask for his answer. He feels more comfortable that way.  Example – Everybody wants to know if we are going out with them afterwards. Instead of asking him there in front of everybody, I’ll step aside and ask him. He may feel pressured to say yes even if he wants to say no.
  5. Give him time to answer. What May take you 5 seconds to answer, could take him a few minutes. This isn’t always easy. Communication is easy for me and not him. I can answer right away but he takes time. I find myself getting impatient and talking more instead of giving him time to answer.
  6. Try hard not to get angry or frustrated. This is hard for me. I want him to communicate with me and comfort me and say all the right words. This isn’t who he is. I need to remember this and not take offense to it. 

If none of the above work, bribe him with Chick-Fil-A for dinner if he shares something new with you, answers a question or communicates in general  😉 JK

Don’t forget. Just because somebody struggles with communication does NOT mean that they don’t care, don’t love you, are not listening to you, etc. It’s just something they struggle with and if they are like my husband, they truly care and really wish communication came easy to them but they don’t really know how to communicate in that way. 

Communication is something that we are continuing to work on each day. I’m praying one day it gets easier for him or I’m able to find ways to make it easier and to better communicate with him. 


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