“You never listen to me.” For probably the millionth time in our twenty-three year marriage, those words came spilling out of my mouth. And my sweet husband, who had continued to work toward completing the task he was working on, looks up and repeats back to me the highlights of what I was just talking about. Oh, I hate it when that happens!
Now, maybe you have a similar situation or perhaps a different spin on this situation. But if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit –sometimes we are not the best communicators when talking with our spouses. And frankly, that inability to feel as if we are being heard is really our problem and not theirs.
I realize there are times when the communication issue lies with our husband, but if we want our relationships to grow, we have to own our downfalls as well.
When Darrell and I first got married, I was a hot communication mess! At the tender age of 21, having only dated a couple of guys before meeting my husband, I was indeed relationship-challenged when it came to discussing the deeper things in life. After the first big disagreement we had, I shut down. My emotions were running so high; I couldn’t process all that had just occurred. Taking everything that came out of his mouth personally, I just stop talking –for three whole days!
Thankfully, I married a guy who is extremely patient, was a few years older than me, and has a great sense of humor. Though I could never stay mad at him for anything, it took years for me to reach a point where we could have a conversation without me flying off the handle. Truth be told, on a rare occasion, I still have those moments, but they are fewer and far between.
So as women of God, let’s discuss four communication failures that creep into our marriages and learn how to improve our conversations with our spouse. (Trust me, I have experienced them all!)
But what does the Bible have to say about all this? For this communication failure, let’s look at Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT):
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Over the years, I begin to realize my silence was rooted in deep anger, and that anger was hurting me more than my spouse. It certainly affected him, but I was the one opening myself up to the devil’s antics. I was the one really losing. Once I got a hold of this, I started taking the time to reflect on why I was so angry, and eventually I learned to go back to my husband, after a cooling off period, and articulate the issue. This was huge turning point in our communication with each other and has strengthened our marriage tremendously. Make a commitment today, that before the sun goes down you will break the silence and discuss why you became so angry.
Psalm 25:28 (ESV) states:
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Girlfriends, life is downright aggravating some days, but let’s not use our men as emotional punching bags. For years, I justified my actions by minimizing how my attitude was affecting our marriage. Everyone has their breaking point and needs to vent. However, a marriage license is not a consent for you to treat you husband anyway you want (and vice versa) and he is obligated to take it! That kind of thinking can lead to a huge divide in your marriage, which at some point may be unfixable. Work on the one person you can work on – YOU!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Are we allowing our own fears and insecurities to fill in the blanks of those crazy thoughts that run through our heads and try to discourage us? Before you assume what your husband is thinking, ASK! It might just cut down on the number of sleepless nights you’re having!
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 (NIV)
Remember, we not only communicate with our words, but with our body language and actions. If you are longing for your husband to be a little more affectionate, evaluate how you have communicated your affection for him lately. Make deposits into his account regularly and enjoy the return on investment!
Communication is hard sometimes. It involves some work on the part of both individuals. To be sure you are strengthening your communication skills with your husband, remember to avoid these four communication failures: Using the Silent Treatment, Emotional Sabotage, Dangerous Assumptions, and Allowing the Bank to Go Broke. Preventing these hazards can be as simple as breaking the silence before dark, working on controlling your own emotions, clarifying your husband’s thoughts and viewpoints, and making consistent deposits into his emotional bank.
Happy wife, happy life! Happy husband, joyous wife!
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.