Pre-marital jitters are very common and even expected. You are taking a huge step and also have an important event to plan. One way to take some of the stress off of you and everyone else involved is using these communication tips to decrease tension and improve the way your message is received. Simply changing your word usage could really deescalate stress levels.

Start by saying what you “would like” instead of what you “don’t want”, “I would like it if all of our family would stay in a hotel for the wedding weekend” instead of “I don’t want your family staying with us for the wedding weekend”.

Use “I” statements instead of “You” statements, “I was frustrated when I came home to a mess” instead of “You left the house in a mess”. “You” statements automatically put the other person on the defensive.

Changing your “shoulds” to “coulds” will help take pressure off of both parties: “We should invite all of our friends” versus “We could invite all of our friends.” The second sentence creates more of a discussion rather than a statement of what needs to happen.

Some other important things are listening fully and taking note of what your partner says. Don’t be waiting to say “Yes, but…”, really listen, and if things aren’t making sense to you, ask for more information, by using “How” or “What” questions, not “Have you” or “Are you”, which tend to elicit “yes” or “no” responses.

By making some slight changes in the way you say things, those around you will be more apt to feel at ease. Your conversations will also be more open, positive and constructive.