Communication: The Heart of the Matter
Communication Skills in Marriage
Communication in marriage is a skill that can be developed. Like a trade, it must be learned and regularly practiced for it to become a natural habit. Most professionals agree that the number one reason marriages end in divorce is poor communication. Most couples talk all the time, but how we communicate matters. Communication in marriage is more than about just talking and listening, it is about doing it with unconditional love and respect.
The Power of Words
“The tongue has the power of life and death.” It is such a small member, but it holds so much power. Most of us have a handle on our tongues when dealing with bosses, co-workers, or strangers. We develop a natural filter that guides what, and how, we communicate because we do not want to offend or be rude. When it comes to our spouses, it is easy to drop the filter. Why? The answer is simple; we feel that our spouse is a safe place. This type of habit is dangerous because it chips away at intimacy in marriage. When we do not guard our words or tone, we communicate in an unloving and disrespectful manner. We give more consideration to the outside world than the one who has vowed to love and support us most. Asking two questions can help us implement communicating with unconditional love and respect: “Is it loving?” and “Is it respectful?”
LISTEN and SILENT – spelled with the same letters
Just as the speech we use takes practice, listening also is a skill to develop. “The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply” ― Roy T. Bennett. Active listening means silencing our minds so that we can hear what the other is saying, and it takes patience and humbleness. There have been times when my spouse has told me something, then later, I ask the very question they answered in a previous conversation. I HEARD what was said, but I was not listening for understanding.
Active listening during an argument can be more challenging. In a dispute, it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking more about our response than absorbing the needs of our spouse’s heart. We must train our minds to focus on their words, instead of formulating what we will say next. Practicing this will communicate love and respect for your partner and build intimacy in marriage.
Whether in conflict, or everyday life, communicating with unconditional love and respect can be challenging, but it IS POSSIBLE. We can learn the skills necessary by seeking marriage help through relationship coaching and Christian marriage conferences. Many books also offer marriage advice designed to help you develop healthy communication skills.