Now that your marriage has been restored, would you say your communication with your spouse is better or worse than it was before? It is essential to be aware of your individual communication styles in marriage.
Are you the type to clam up instead of talking through a problem? Does your spouse want time alone to process a disagreement before talking it over?
My husband Scott and I have been married for 26 years, so we have had a lot of practice in communication. Early on, it seemed like it was easy to understand each other. I knew what he was thinking, and he knew what I was thinking. Then, there came a time when it felt like one of us heard Charlie Brown’s teacher from the Peanuts comics each time the other spoke.
“Wah-wah wah, wah, wah, wah, wah!”
Scott would ask, “What’s for dinner?” and I would hear, “Why didn’t you plan out a meal in advance?”
I would ask, “Are you going to tidy the garage this weekend?” and he would hear, “You are such a slob.”
I am happy to report that we have gotten much better at communicating. I have realized that most communication doesn’t come from the actual words spoken but comes from other things that I want to share with you today.
I am a morning person. I can wake up and be ready to have a deep, heart-to-heart conversation or plan our children’s college years within minutes of seeing the sunshine. On the other hand, my sweet hubby needs time alone and a hot shower to process any spoken words in the morning.
I can’t tell you how many times we have been in bed when I followed, “Good morning!” with some huge announcement.
Proverbs tells us about a timely reply.
A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23
Scott and I have found that we both respond better when the timing is right. If I need to have Scott set aside some time for a budget chat, I warn him, and then he can prepare. Years ago, we started doing a weekly conversation, going over the week that just ended. It was a set time for us to chat about what worked, what didn’t, and how we could improve going forward. While we don’t do that exact process now, we still use Sunday to reconnect and make sure we are going into the new week with all pending issues resolved.
Takeaway: Ask your spouse if you can make a date each week to talk about the more significant, more pressing life issues.
Physical touch is essential-
When I was growing up, the slogan for our phone company was, “Reach out and touch someone.” I’m not suggesting you touch just anyone, but don’t be afraid to touch your spouse. When the communication walls are up, and the silence is deafening, a simple touch can speak volumes.
While a tense conversation is happening, the last thing you probably want to do is hold your spouse’s hand, but that could be the thing that eases the tension.
It is hard to argue with someone you are touching. I made my kids hug it out after they spoke unkind words to each other. Before you get to the point of an argument, make it a practice to touch when speaking to one another.
It is amazing how a hand on my shoulder during a difficult conversation can make my defenses go down. I no longer see my husband as the enemy, but I can pause and really hear the words he is speaking.
Start with prayer-
As a couple, you may not have a routine of praying together. I don’t mean the quick blessing over a meal, but a time of connection and prayer as a couple. It may feel awkward at first if this is something you haven’t done before, but I want to challenge you to try it.
Before bed, or in the morning when your spouse is heading off to work, ask if they would mind if you prayed together. Your spouse may thank you for the prayers and head off, or they may feel comfortable enough to pray for you at that same time.
If you have never done this as a couple, it may feel unnatural at first. The person on this earth you know most intimately will not judge your prayer, so relax and invite God into your relationship to guide and direct every step.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Your marriage is valuable! Practice these steps and watch your communication as a couple improve.