Developing effective communication takes work! But it’s so important–even vital–to the health of your marriage. It’s actually essential that you develop biblical and effective methods of communication with EVERYONE in your life, not just your husband. But since our marriage is our most precious earthly relationship, it takes priority and that is why we are focusing on it today. 😉
Did you take a moment and read tips 1 and 2? If you haven’t, you can right here. Got it? Okay, here we go with 3 and 4.
Attack the Problem–NOT the Person. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minster grace unto the hearers.”
I don’t know about you girls, but that verse is like a knife in my heart every time I read it! How often do I use belittling remarks to try to win an argument? Do you find yourself responding to your husband with sarcasm most of the time just out of habit? Our society likes to make sarcasm seem attractive, when often it is used to thinly veil a bad attitude or hurt feelings. Instead, choose to use words of respect and honor in response to your man. God has called us as wives to “reverence” or “respect” our husbands! Make it a daily goal to speak words of admiration instead of complaints. This will help your mindset to be biblical, even during a conflict. Here are some practical ways to attack the PROBLEM and not the PERSON when you’re in the middle of a…ahem…discussion. 😉
- Don’t attack his character. Refuse to say things like, “You’re so lazy!” or “Why can’t you just figure it out?” Thoughts and words like that only work to tear down your marriage. In our home, our bedroom closet is too small for all of our clothes, so my man has to hang his shirts and pants up in the spare bedroom. Many times, I went in to find all his shirts from the week neatly lain out on the bed…but not hanging up in the closet. For a while, that REALLY bugged me. Then I realized. I leave my clothes on the bedroom chair all the time. So…same thing! Once I started being more diligent to keep my clothes put away daily, so did he. It was amazing! That’s not to say I never talked to him about it. A few times I did, so he knew that it was something that bothered me. (Contrary to popular belief, men can’t read our minds.) He also said something to me about my clothes sometimes. So instead of attacking each other’s characters, we decided to BOTH work on being more diligent so that our marriage did not suffer even a little bit. A win-win! 🙂 Galatians 6:1 is a great verse to help you in applying this principle, especially with issues more serious than picking up your laundry.
- Don’t start a fire. Put one out! When in the middle of a discussion, choose to speak calmly. This may seem like common sense, but really. If you allow yourself to become out of control, you will also hear yourself speaking hurtful words that are often untrue. Do NOT let your emotions overwhelm you. If things are getting out of hand, be the firefighter and stop it. You are responsible for how you respond, so make sure your are being controlled by the Holy Spirit instead of your feelings in the heat of the moment. Something that helps me when I feel like I’m getting too emotional is taking a deep breath, letting him know that I need to calm down, and getting a drink of water. Now hopefully, conversations like these are not prevalent in your marriage. But conflict is guaranteed when two completely different individuals are trying to learn how to live and function as one. Just remember, don’t be too proud to go into firefighter mode. 🙂
- Do not bypass the real issues. We talked some about this in the previous blog post, but it needs to be reiterated. If you sweep things under the rug, you open the door to the dangers of bitterness and resentment. These are POISON in your marriage. If something is bothering you, make the time to talk it out.
Act. Don’t REact. Action beats reaction every single time! Don’t let yourself fall into the habit of reacting to your husband. Actions are more effective and definitely more purposeful. Instead of reacting to one of your husbands statements or actions in judgment or defensiveness, choose to respond with humility and forgiveness. You may be thinking something like this: I can’t help my reactions! They are just an outpouring of how I feel!
This is one of my very favorite things to write about. Our ever-present feelings. Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t help the way I feel”?
We can change the way we feel! One of our marriage counselors, Steve, said it this way: “Don’t feel your way into a new set of actions. Act your way into a new set of feelings.” Ever wonder WHY in the world we feel a certain way? Our feelings are molded by our thoughts. So, if we change the way we think by renewing our minds in God’s Holy Word, our feelings will follow suit, and then our actions. If you find yourself constantly reacting to your husband in anger, frustration, impatience, exasperation, etc., take a few days to renew your mind with what God says about marriage and about your husband. As women, we are to do our husbands good all the days of our life. He is the leader of our home, and God commands us to respect him and support him (even when he makes mistakes along the way. What a great opportunity to to build your husband up!). Ask God to shape your thinking from fleshly to biblical, so that your actions will be God-honoring as well.
Dear sisters in Christ, biblical communication in our marriage is so important. But, it is not the most important thing. You know what is?
Your relationship with Jesus. Let me say it again. Your relationship with Jesus is the most important thing about your marriage. If He does not have first place in your heart, your marriage will suffer. Hear God’s heart. He wants to teach you how to communicate with your husband the way He designed. Go to His Word and seek His face. Ask Him for help to implement these four tips in your marriage. Ask Him to help you be honest, to stay current, to attack the problem and not the person, and to purposefully act instead of reacting in your flesh. As you give Him first place, watch Him bless your communication in your marriage…and everything else in between!
Psalm 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.