Rationalizations: These are excuses. They are often a rebuttal or an attempt to defend yourself and a way to avoid taking on responsibility for the situation. They can sound like this: "Well you would have done the same thing in my place." Or, "Well you did____ so I thought/did ______." This kind of tit-for-tat mentality will stalemate a conversation.

Instead, offer a solution or system for working through the issue like, "Honey, why don’t you go first and explain to me how you are feeling and what you think is going on here. Then I will see if I understand, and I’ll explain my point of view. We’ll see where this leads us, ok?" In this way, you are creating a new line of communication.

3. Call the operator. If your cell phone continues to have problems, you’d call the maker or the operator to get help. It is always appropriate to stop an argument before things get worse and call for help. Call by:

1. Stopping to pray together for wisdom.

2. Calling a mentor. See if someone older and wiser who has been through this situation can offer help or insights.

3. Calling a professional. A pastor or a Christian counselor can offer new tools or be a mediator in really tough-to-handle conversations.

Now that we’ve taken some cues from modern technology lets go back a few thousand years to ancient wisdom: There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise [brings] healing. Pr 12:18

Poor communication can open wounds in marriage, but good communication can bring healing to those areas of your marriage that are less-than-perfect. So, resolve today to use the tools available to improve your marital communication.

This article was adapted from: Every Marriage is a Fixer Upper (Harvest House Publishers).

Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers and the authors of over 20 books including best-selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti and their newest, Every Marriage is a Fixer Upper. For more information on their books and ministry: 800-810-4449 or  http://farrelcommunications.com.