Communication gives a person the opportunity to know and be known. It is the foundation of all relationships, whether you’re communicating with a friend or with your spouse. Communication gives two people a chance to connect, build, trust, be vulnerable, and learn from one another. A good conversation brings people together, but bad communication can cause distance and disconnect. Good communication in a marriage, however, is absolutely vital, especially in keeping the marriage healthy. When a husband and wife know how to communicate well they feel respected, validated, and understood, making it easier to work out any misunderstandings or frustrations.
Good communication can be sweet, especially when you love one another with kind and loving words. Proverbs 16:24 says “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” When words are communicated well then it opens up a space for two people to bear one’s souls, laugh, cry, and create an intimate bond that is founded on trust and understanding. When there is good communication there is a good balance of positive interactions that range from listening and validating a person to expressing appreciation, affirmation, and compliments, all while using a soft and sweet tone. Don’t forget body language, this too is included with good communication and may involve some physical affection. There must be five times as many positive interactions than negative ones for a couple to thrive and have a happy, healthy marriage.
We are all broken and no matter how wonderful the marriage, or relationship, might be, a disagreement or frustration will occur and the way you respond will determine bad or good communication. Bad meaning you are raising your voice, name-calling, or degrading your spouse. Negative things will arise in a marriage, and your buttons will be pushed but it’s possible to have a frustration, or complaint, that can be responded to well. This all begins with how you communicate regularly with one another. So let’s discuss some ways you can cultivate good communication within your marriage.
When your spouse is genuinely curious about how you are doing or how your day was, you feel valued. You may have been married, or in a relationship, for quite a while and think you know all there is to know about the love of your life but there is always more. In fact, you may be surprised by what you might come to know when you become curious. Take time with one another and ask questions like: What was the best part of your week? When did you feel closest to me this week? What’s something I can do to make your day or week better? What can I do to make you feel more loved? These questions offer space to be real, vulnerable, and open to one another and through them, you will gain a better understanding. Being curious also means you must be intentional, intentional in spending time with one another, maybe turning off all devices and taking time each day to look in each other’s eyes and catch up. It is in those moments that your communication skills with one another will build and grow.
There is a reason God created us with two ears and only one mouth. We need to listen twice as often as we talk. Being an attentive listener means we are not only listening with our ears but with our hearts. Fully listening gives the opportunity to empathize and understand before responding. However so often it’s easy to only listen to respond, anxious to speak and get your point across. Although being attentive with your listening will help you see more clearly your partner’s hopes, fears, and emotions. Your marriage and communication will drastically improve when you can learn to listen without judgment and be anxious to jump in. When your spouse feels listened to they will feel validated and respected. Listening well will bring you two closer together. It is when you are willing to push your own agenda aside and fully listen that issues can get resolved.
Remember the Golden Rule
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matt. 7:12). How would you like to be treated? Do you respond well to nagging, shouting, or unkind words? Most people don’t. However, the only person you can truly change is yourself. If you desire to be fully listened to and heard then you too should practice listening well. If you would like help with different tasks around the house you should be quick to see how you can also help your spouse. If you want your spouse to show more affection or kindness then you should start by showing them. Instead of being quick to point the finger, recognize how you would like to be treated ad then treat your spouse that way. Often people will reciprocate how you respond to them.
Marriage. Communication. These things can be difficult when you are going about them on your own strength and abilities, in fact, when you do it alone you will most likely fail. However, when you incorporate God, He becomes the glue that holds us together and the teacher that teaches us to live out the Golden Rule. He offers strength, wisdom, discernment, and love. He helps us see our spouse fully as we allow Him to mold and mend our marriage as well as the way we communicate with one another. The best way you can invite Him in is through prayer. Phil. 4:6-7 reminds us how powerful prayer truly is, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…” Prayer aligns our marriage, the way we speak, and our actions with God. “Pray continuously” as 1 Thess 5:17 states. Pray for your marriage, communication, your spouse, and even yourself. When a heated moment arises the best way to simmer down is through prayer and opening a door for the Holy Spirit to rearrange your heart a bit. Pray individually and pray together! Prayer will build your marriage and help you be more aware of what God is doing in your own heart and mind.
Be Quick to Forgive
Remember you love this person! Love keeps no record of being wronged (1 Cor. 13:5b). Anger, resentment, and unforgiveness can cloud up your judgment making it difficult to communicate and listen well. When these emotions are allowed to fester bitterness can take root in your heart. Then you will lose sight of what is good and worth valuing in your marriage. Therefore you must be “slow to become angry” (James 1:19) and quick to forgive. Mistakes are inevitable because we are all only human but it’s the way you respond that can make or break a relationship. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
If you can learn to communicate well, your marriage will flourish!