5 Simple Ways to Keep Clear Communication in Your Marriage
- Bethany Jett Contributing Writer
- 2021 11 Feb
When you and your spouse are on the same page, marriage is wonderful. Birds sing sweeter. The air is crisper. Rainbows and sunshine and adorable little puppy photos galore. But when there isn’t clear communication in marriage, it can feel like the whole world is against you: angry shadows, dark threatening skies, and a burden in your spirit that won’t dissipate.
What Does the Bible Say about Communication in Marriage?
Love is a lot of things, as is expressed in 1 Corinthians 13, often dubbed “the Love Chapter.” If we can expound upon the fact that love doesn’t insist on its own way, along with being patient, and believing and hoping all things, we can agree that our communication styles must reflect everything that love is promised to be.
Our words have the power to heal or destroy. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my rock and redeemer.”
Ephesians 5:21 says to submit to each other out of reverence for the Lord. We aren’t supposed to look to our own interests first, but to put the needs of each other ahead of our own.
The Bible also says that we’re supposed to be there for each other and shoulder some of the hardships. Galatians 6:2 says to bear each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Having a friend who supports your marriage and will listen to you vent can allow you to express your feelings without directing them at your spouse. Their perspective can also help you see your partner’s side, so when you do sit down and speak, you’re not flying off the cuff.
1 Peter 4:8 says we need to love each other earnestly because love covers a multitude of sins. And how much more do we need to love our spouses, our partners in life?
Every marriage is different, just as the two people inside of the marriage of different, but by following these five simple steps, we can improve the communication in marriage so that we build something truly beautiful and reflective of God’s design.
What Leads to a Lack of Communication in Marriage?
It’s also important to understand how your spouse feels loved. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages can bring insight as to how you and your partner give and receive love. By choosing to love each other the way you need to be loved is a way to communicate selflessly.
Ron Edmundson shares three suggestions for how we can love our spouses deeply but sometimes we’re not great at showing that love, which can lead to a breakdown in communication in marriage.
Notwithstanding the occasional venting to a trusted friend, it’s vital to talk to your spouse. As simple as that sounds, we have multiple outlets to express ourselves i.e., social media, websites, forums, online groups.
What Qualifies as Good Communication in a Marriage?
Make it a practice to share your day, especially the small things. Ask each other for their thoughts or advice. Watch a show or the news and discuss. Don’t belittle each other for differing opinions and encourage each other whenever you can.
Part of working on our marriages to make sure that we’re listening, open to the other person’s perspective, and willing to make decisions that might not be our first choice. The site iBelieve.com has a great article on four ways to improve communication, including a major focus on truly listening to each other.
When we strive to maintain clear communication in our marriage, those gray skies in our souls can be bright and full of sunshine.
5 Ways to Keep Clear Communication in Your Marriage
Here are some ways to keep clear communication in your marriage.
In a keynote address, author Robert Benson said that being listened to often feels a lot like being loved. When arguments or disagreements happen, it dampens communication in marriage, often leading to one, or both, parties, not feeling heard.
Proverbs 18:2 says that a fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. How quickly a conversation turns into a fight when one person is more interested in being heard than listening to the other.
My husband’s “listening mat” from his Christian college counseling class is something that remains tucked into a box, forever part of our belongings. The mat has a circle in the middle, where one person is supposed to stand and listen to the other person share 1) how they feel, 2) what they think, and 3) why they’re upset. And even though we don’t actually stand on the mat, it’s a tangible reminder that we need to listen and understand each other in order to have clear communication in our marriage.
2. Fight Fair
Having clear communication in marriage is what we strive towards, but when disagreements happen, and they will, an important lesson to remember to fight fair. That means no name-calling, no profanity, no using the words “always” or “never,” and no bringing up the past. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. And while we may not forget the things our spouse has done, if we’ve forgiven each other, there is no excuse or reason to bring it back up.
3. Say What you Mean
Nobody has time for passive-aggressive tendencies. If you want something, say it clearly. If you’re upset, mention it specifically. Our spouses are not mind-readers and no matter how cute we think we’re being by dropping hints, it’s better for the relationship to just be clear.
Have you ever had the roundabout argument over what to have for dinner?
What do you want to eat?
I don’t care. You decide.
No, you decide.
Okay, XYZ restaurant.
No, I hate that.
Then you pick.
Whatever you decide is fine with me.
And round-and-round we go until we’ve morphed from hungry to hangry to completely angry in a matter of minutes.
4. Find a Healthy Way to “Vent”
A marriage is between two people but sometimes, in order to preserve that marriage, having a trusted third-party available can make all the difference. When we’re angry, mean or spiteful words can be thrown at the person we love the most, and yet, afterward, we realize we didn’t mean any of it.
Home-buying is stressful enough, but when we were looking at homes to purchase, my husband and I often had to go alone with the realtor and FaceTime the other person. On one of these trips, we disagreed heavily on the house to make an offer on, with a six-hour running clock on one of the homes.
After a series of phone calls where we were becoming more and more frustrated with each other, I’d had it. I was done. He could look for houses on his own time. I wasn’t going to drag our three kids (and dog) around any longer to look at houses just for him to not trust my judgment. We could live in the hotel forever, for all I cared.
Instead of calling my husband to share these not-so-kind thoughts, I called my best friend, who allowed me to openly share my frustrations. She affirmed me where I needed to be affirmed, shared what she thought was my husband’s perspective, reminded me that this was a hard season, but we’d make it through and recited some Scripture about God’s promises for us.
This tip comes with some warnings and strong recommendations. First, your friend should be of the same gender. Don’t run to a member of the opposite sex to share your feelings about your spouse, particularly when you’re upset. Second, this tip should be used sparingly. We want to communicate primarily with our spouses. Third, your friend should be someone who wants your marriage to succeed. Fourth, and most important, prayerfully consider any advice before taking it.
5. Don’t Complain Unless You Have an Alternative
An unspoken rule in my husband’s military unit was that you weren’t allowed to complain about a situation unless you had an answer or way to remedy it. This same idea has worked wonders with our own communication. If one of us doesn’t agree or is upset about a decision, we must be proactive and have an alternative solution or a way to fix the situation.
This lessens the amount of blame and guilt being pointed around since now the discussion isn’t focused on the person, but the situation at hand. We’ve come together to address it as a team instead of pointing fingers from opposite sides of the table.
If you’re still looking for ways to unlock communication in your marriage, check out Dr. S. M. Davis’s article on 7 Useful Keys to Unlock Communication in Your Marriage.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Bethany Jett is a multi-award-winner for her books and marketing campaigns and is a sought-after speaker for women and teens. An entrepreneur at heart, Bethany co-owns two companies within the publishing industry.
She is a military wife to her college sweetheart and a work-from-home momma-of-boys who loves planners, suspense novels, and all things girly.
Connect with Bethany on your favorite platform by checking out her site: BethanyJett.com