Jason and Tammy sat on opposite ends of the couch. Tammy’s arms were folded across her chest, and she didn’t even want to look at Jason.
“But you said you were ready,” Tammy blurted out as she fought back her tears.
Jason replied, “Yes, I did, but obviously I wasn’t. I thought you were asking if I was ready to go to eat lunch, but you meant something different altogether.”
“Well, of course, I didn’t mean that, I was asking you if you were ready to pick up the girls from the babysitter.” Tammy snapped.
That was just the beginning a heated “discussion” between Jason and Tammy. By the end, they were both wondering why they fought so much.
Jason and Tammy are like most couples. They work hard, and they love each other. But, they seem to have created patterns of communication which leave them hurt and confused. Have you ever gotten into a disagreement with your spouse over something like this?
3 Steps to Better Communication
Marriage is hard work, and communication is one of the top areas for couples to struggle with in their marriage. There are many ways to have better communication with your spouse. Creating new habits will take time, but each of these steps opens doors for a stronger marriage relationship.
1. Take time to listen fully to your spouse. Turn off the tv. Turn off the ringers on your phones. Give your undivided attention to your spouse. Listen for subtle differences in your spouse’s tone of voice. Show him that you care about what he has to say. (Wives, remember that men don’t talk as much as us, so we need to be ready to hear what he says.) Give him the opportunity to tell you his concerns about work, family, etc. When your spouse feels valued because they feel heard, your relationship grows deeper.
“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
– James 1:19
2. Remember that you don’t speak the same language. God made us in His image, but He created men and women differently. We each reflect His image, but most of the time we don’t think the same way our spouse does. We grew up in different families and we each had different experiences that helped shape us into who we are today. This means that we also have different definitions for things in life. You may need to ask your spouse what she means when she says something. You may say you “love” something and that means you think it’s great, while your spouse thinks that you would sacrifice your life to have it. When you know what your spouse’s definitions are, unity in mind and spirit strengthens your relationship.
“…complete my joy by being of the same mind,
having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
– Philippians 2:2
3. Refrain from discussing “hot” topics right before bedtime. Tired, cranky people tend to misunderstand what is said and they become angry easily. “Hot” topics need to be discussed when both partners can think about the needs of the other person. Set a time with your spouse when you’ll both be able to talk peacefully so that you can avoid going to bed angry. You may come to realize that the topic that would have led to an argument was really not as important as it seemed at the time. When you recognize that you are not able to lovingly discuss a topic, you give your spouse a gift as you work together to protect your relationship from hurt caused by an emotional discharge.
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
– Ephesians 4:26
Communication in marriage does not have to end with a cold shoulder. You can start with any of these three steps to begin building better communication with your spouse – and a better marriage.
There are many different steps you can take to have better communication with your spouse. What steps have worked in your marriage?
Everyone desires to have a great marriage! Share your tips by leaving a comment below or email us!photo credit: Elizabeth Porter via freeimages.com