4 Keys to Effective Communication in Marriage

Proverbs 12:8

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (NIV).

Throughout my entire life, I have always struggled with my perception of myself. I feel awkward in nearly every social situation, and I don’t feel comfortable expressing myself through speaking. It’s been a constant battle for me. My self-identity was often in shambles because I just couldn’t see myself the way that God sees me. 

That all changed because of the empowering words of my wife. The love and respect she has shown me throughout our relationship continually remind me of my value. When I struggle with my self-image, she knows the right words to speak because she has invested in me. She knows how to communicate with me effectively and reach into my heart. We grow closer to one another every day because we have embedded ourselves in each other’s lives through effective communication.

Communication can make or break a marriage. Our words carry the power to hurt or to heal. Unwillingness to communicate also brings with it its own set of consequences. How can we expect to grow closer to our spouse if we aren’t willing to talk to them? We must foster healthy habits within our marriage that cultivate powerful communication. 

Communication can make or break a marriage. Our words carry the power to hurt or to heal.

Here are 4 keys to developing effective communication within your marriage.

Make Time to Listen

Carving time out of your schedule to hear about your spouse’s day makes them feel valued. That simple act of sitting and listening can show your spouse that you care. The effort you demonstrate by doing this shows where your priorities lie. It helps your spouse to know that they are important to you. So many arguments arise from the fact that someone feels like they are never genuinely listened to. These arguments are entirely avoidable, and so is the hurt that results.

I make sure that every day when my wife comes home, I take the time to ask her about her day. I stop whatever I am doing and truly listen. I love her, and I want to be a part of what’s going on in her life. This small gesture goes a long way in being involved in what she’s doing.

Invest in the Things That are Important to Your Spouse

Show your spouse that the things that are important to them are important to you too. I can’t tell you how much of the conversation between my wife and me revolves around the other’s interests that we have chosen to invest in. We have deepened our relationship by investing in what’s important to each other. 

We have deepened our relationship by investing in what’s important to each other.

Being well-versed in each other’s passions in life opens up new opportunities for conversation. I love hearing my wife pour out her heart about things that she likes. It draws me closer to her and shows me sides of her that I would never see if I didn’t make that effort. 

Ask Questions that Spark Conversation

One of the questions I make sure to ask my wife every single day is, “what was the best part of your day?” This question draws me into her day and gives me a great sense of something that spoke to her heart in the midst of it. From her answers, I learn more about what she is experiencing and what moves her throughout the course of her day. 

Never stop learning about your spouse. Little questions like this can help guide you in going deeper in your knowledge of your spouse. 

ALWAYS Treat Your Spouse with Respect

If you have one take-away from reading this post, let it be this one. There is NO EXCUSE for ever treating your spouse disrespectfully. If you have any desire to have a healthy marriage, you will always treat them with respect. Take ownership of the responsibility that your words carry with you. They have the power to either empower or tear down the person you have committed your entire life to. 

There is NO EXCUSE for ever treating your spouse disrespectfully.

God has brought you together with your spouse. Honor that relationship by speaking healing words into their life. Never deepen the hurt that they feel. It is much harder to fix the damage done by stray words than it is never to have said them in the first place. 

Commit to trying out these 4 keys to effective communication in your marriage today. Pray that God guides you along the way, and send your marriage soaring to new heights!

Does True Love Exist?

Why Marriage Matters: Part 2

Song of Solomon 6:3

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (NIV)

I’m going to flip the script here and ditch the clever opening story in order to get right to the answer poised in the title of this reflection: does true love exist? The answer is a resounding YES! True love DOES exist, but perhaps it isn’t what we expected it to be.

We live in a culture that promotes radical individuality. It is encouraged to spend a great deal of our lives focused on defining ourselves and making sure that we have a distinct identity separate from others. I fear that it has grown to a point in which we are beginning to worship this individuality to the degree that we are teetering awfully close to the ledge of idolatry.

True love DOES exist, but perhaps it isn’t what we expected it to be.

The message of the Gospel is counter-culture and radically opposed to the ways of the world around us. This holds true in marriage as well. God doesn’t call us to seek individuality in marriage, He calls us to seek oneness. Radical individuality makes oneness very difficult, hence the struggles we see in the statistics on marriage, even Christian marriage. How do we find this oneness?

Find a Biblical Definition of Self, but Prepare to be Redefined in Marriage:Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25, NIV).

Our sense of self needs to be primarily rooted in our understanding of our role as children of God, not in our particular interests, hobbies, or work. For example, I am very passionate about writing, but I don’t cease to be myself if such an artistic medium no longer existed. It’s something I enjoy, but it doesn’t define me. Also, in marriage I’ve become more myself than I was before marriage. I didn’t lose myself. Despite what many say, even in the Christian community, don’t be afraid of your identity changing in the midst of your marriage: welcome it! Holding on too tightly to what we thought we were will just create isolation, strife, and misunderstanding. Jesus didn’t cling to any earthly conception of anything, rather He was willing to give away His life itself in service to those He loved! If Christ can give His very life, why do we cling to such little things that divide us?

Make the Needs of Your Spouse Your Own:Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10, NIV).

Making the needs of your spouse your own cultivates the intimacy, trust, and oneness that so many marriages are missing today. Don’t worry, your needs won’t go unmet, because serving your spouse in this way will help to inspire them to do the same for you. Truly rejoice in their highs, grieve with them in their lows, and ALWAYS take the time to listen. Invest in your spouse richly and do everything you can to help them thrive.

Create and Pursue Dreams Together:Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NIV).

Be willing to put your marriage before your personal dreams. Controversial, I know, but I believe it’s important. There are dreams I’ve sacrificed in order to become one with my wife and now, years later, I’m glad I did! The dreams we’ve created, pursued, and conquered together are far greater than the ones I had myself. And through it all, we’ve attained a oneness we could have never imagined.

The dreams we’ve created, pursued, and conquered together are far greater than the ones I had myself.

Of course, these steps only work when pursued in unison with your partner, and I’m not claiming it will happen overnight. Rather, it is an overall mindset worth considering and cultivating within your own life and marriage. Pray and ask God to lead you in this, as you would in any area of your life.