What God’s Communication can teach us about Communication in Marriage

What God’s Communication can teach us about Communication in Marriage

When we asked couples what they struggle with, communication was Number One. It can feel as though you and your spouse are speaking different languages, and attempts to talk seem to only make things worse. Since we are made in God’s image, looking at God’s communication with us should teach us a lot about healthy communication in marriage.

God is always communicating. The Bible is basically a record of and means of God’s communication with us. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Imagine God trying to communicate with us. He knows everything, has all the answers, and loves us with a heart that is infinite, passionate, strong, and wise. But we struggle to hear and understand Him. Jesus described it like this: “In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 13:14-15)

Talk about a closed heart! Does that sound like your spouse when you try to communicate?

And perhaps it describes you sometimes as well.

But God doesn’t give up, and neither should you.

Here are some aspects of God’s communication with us that can help you in communicating with your spouse.

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Translation Aids for Man-Speak and Woman-Speak

Translation Aids for Man-Speak and Woman-Speak

Perhaps Rosetta Stone, the language learning/translation software, should develop a program to help you learn what your spouse is really saying. Listening to some husbands and wives try to communicate, you would think they grew up in different countries speaking completely different languages. You need some translation aids for Man-Speak and Woman-Speak.

The problem comes when his English isn’t her English (or Spanish or Swahili or anything else). In truth, even if they did grow up in the same city men and women function very differently when it comes to language and communication. Add to that the different perspectives on life and marriage each grew up in, and it often adds up to learning a whole new language when you get married.

My husband Al would frequently make a summary statement about a practical problem, group of people, business situation, or other matter as if it were fact. I learned that in doing so he was actually asking for my opinion, which he valued highly. He wanted me to affirm his assessment, or to kindly present an alternative view if I saw things differently.

You and your spouse will each have your own unique quirks of communication, and learning those things about each other makes the journey of marriage interesting. But there are some ways in which men and women differ in general that may help you decode your spouse’s communication more quickly.

Keep in mind these are generalities. These translation aids may provide some welcome insight into how your spouse thinks and talks.

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Say This, Not That: Healthy Communication Examples for Marriage

Say This, Not That: Healthy Communication Examples for Marriage

Communication can be difficult. You and your spouse seem to speak different languages. Attempts at talking seem to end up in a fight or in someone walking away. Emotions flare up easily. You want to communicate better, but what do you say? It would help to have some healthy communication examples you could adapt for your own marriage.

Your words have a powerful effect on your spouse. Words can emasculate your husband, rip your wife apart, or bring out the worst defensiveness in your spouse. Your words also have the potential to sooth your spouse’s volatile emotions, solve serious problems, and open the door to true intimacy.

Learning to hold your tongue and do your homework before communicating about something difficult or negative is a huge step. In planning what to say when you do talk, these examples of what to say and what not to say will show you what it means to:

  • Express what you need, think, feel, and want clearly
  • Demonstrate respect and love for your spouse
  • Communicate with a goal of understanding first
  • Solve problems instead of attacking the person

Don’t try this until you have an open heart. Once your heart is open, see how these examples may help you develop some healthier communication patterns in your marriage.

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The Key to Solving Communication Problems in Your Marriage

The Key to Solving Communication Problems in Your Marriage

If your attempts at communicating with your spouse leave you frustrated, angry, and feeling even more distant, you’re not alone. In our recent marriage survey, 70% of the hundreds of couples who responded said they wanted better communication in their marriage. But there is an almost magic key to solving communication problems that can change everything.

Healthy communication doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a skill you learn. Think of how your communication normally happens. You try to express something important to your spouse. They react defensively and give a prickly response. Your already-stirred-up emotions get even hotter and your response back makes them even more defensive. The fight is on.

Is it any wonder that many spouses put up an internal wall and shrink from even trying to engage in real communication?

It’s time to reverse things.

Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

Did you get that? It’s a fool who focuses primarily on sharing his/her own thoughts and feelings. The opposite is to find pleasure in understanding. Here’s how that translates into communication with your spouse:

Seek to Understand before Being Understood

Steven Covey made that principle popular years ago, but it’s never been more important for solving communication problems in marriage.

This key solved a thorny issue in my own marriage.

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When Your Spouse Will Not Communicate: 5 Things to Do

When Your Spouse Will Not Communicate: 5 Things to Do

Are you hammering at a brick wall, trying to get it to talk? When your spouse will not communicate that’s what it may feel like.

One frustrated wife wrote to me recently, “Our communication is terrible. . . My husband is a clam, and I don’t know how to get him to communicate his feelings. He has never been able to. And I’ve done everything the wrong way to try and get him to open up.”

Perhaps you can relate. You don’t need to be reminded that nagging your spouse and berating them for not communicating is a losing strategy. Enough of that.

So, your spouse should communicate better, or more, or more deeply, or more consistently, or more understandingly, or with less anger. But they’re not reading this; you are. So here are some things for you to do if your spouse struggles to communicate.

1.  Deal with Your Own Heart First

Simply doing your homework before trying to communicate may make a lot of difference. You can’t change your spouse, but you can work on changing you. Perhaps you already know some ways you’ve tried to communicate in the past that didn’t work; write out some opening lines and practice some healthier ways to initiate a conversation if necessary.

Make sure your own heart is open. If it’s not, spend some time in prayer, or whatever else you need to do to deal with your heart, before going any farther. If you want your spouse to share vulnerably you’ll have to be vulnerable yourself. You need some measure of healing yourself before you can be useful in helping your spouse go there.

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