Written with love, by Pastor Dave Page
Why did you marry your spouse? Some husbands might say, “She turned me on.” Some wives might say, “He made me laugh.” I married my wife because she was beautiful, had a great personality and was a woman of faith.
The Detroit Free Press did a marriage study and found that the majority of people surveyed chose their partners based on physical and sexual appeal. Seventy percent of those surveyed said if they had to do it over again they would not have married the same person. Now that’s a sad statistic. Researcher Terry Schultz said, “If they had to choose again they would choose someone who has the ability to communicate.”
Redbook Magazine asked a group of 730 marriage counselors to list the most common marriage problems that divide and push couples apart. The #1 answer was a breakdown in communication. Poor communication is the top problem in marriage today.
A couple’s happiness depends, to a large extent, on the effectiveness of their communication. It’s been said, “Marriage is like a three ring circus. First, comes the engagement ring. Second, comes the wedding ring. Third, comes suffering.” Maybe you feel the pain.
Below are 3 Communication Tips for a Better Marriage:
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
1. DEVELOP A LISTENING HEART (Be Quick to Listen).
What does it mean to be quick to listen? Ready, alert, eager to listen. One of the reasons why effective communication is so difficult is because people think of communication consisting primarily of the art of speaking. Yet experts tell us that the most critical element in communication is the art of listening. King Solomon said, “To answer before listening - that is folly and shame.”
It’s been said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we speak.” Every time you listen to your partner you're saying, “You matter to me. I value you. You're important.”
2. LEARN TO SAY IT STRAIGHT (Be Slow to Speak).
How do you say it straight? Say it honestly and lovingly. Speak the truth in love, except if she asks you if her dress makes her look fat.
Say it with support. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
My mom often said, “If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.” Your spouse needs a healthy diet of positive words that will build her up. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That's just not true. Words can devastate you and your spouse. Your spouse may forgive what you said but they may never forget the awful name you called them in the heat of an argument.
3. BE SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY (Respond with Grace).
Solomon said, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”
Learn to respond with grace and not anger. What is grace? Grace is a gift from God. It is the unmerited, loving favor and graciousness of our Creator. As you receive his grace it’s important that you extend it to others, in this case your spouse. When we become angry it destroys our communication. The fact is we all get angry. Anger in itself is not a sin. Anger is a secondary emotion that we bolt over to when we've been hurt or something we want has been blocked.
If you truly are quick to listen and slow to speak, you will be slow to become angry.