The Do's and Don't of Marriage Communication
Successful Communication In Marriage
What is Communication?
At its very basis, communication is the exchange of:
This post will focus on healthy communication in regard to confrontation.
First of all, 69% of all issues in marriage are redundant. In other words, you’re not going to solve them.
For instance, if your spouse is an extrovert, you’re not going to change him or her. Be prepared for them to talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time, on any subject. This will not change!
If your spouse is an introvert, he or she will become exhausted when forced to be in a large social setting for an extended period. They will need time alone to recharge. This will not change!
Likewise, every married couple will have conflict over parenting, finances, and sex. It’s inevitable. So how do we resolve these conflicts by doing so in a sound and Biblical way?
God’s plan for marriage communication
When couples experience difficulty in communicating with each other, the tendency of the world is to turn to a self-help book or see what Dr. Phil has to say. But God has given us a much deeper and bigger power than that. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of God. It gives us the sauce to be reconciled to each other because we were first reconciled to God.
Romans 5:10 says, “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (NIV) We were ‘God’s enemies.’ We were born at war with God. He saw the conflict and the inability for us to communicate with God and for Him to communicate with us. Then Jesus enters our lives, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit.
Marriage is the only relationship that’s analogous to God’s relationship with His people. When we’re in a conflict with our spouse, we must first take it to God. There must be a vertical relationship before a horizontal one.
Let’s talk about some tips on how to have successful communication in the exchange of information, affirmation, and confrontation. The following list will explore the Do’s and Don’ts of healthy marriage communication.
The “don’ts” of communication in marriage
1. DON’T IGNORE YOUR P.R.
Don’t ignore your pulse rate. When you’re angry, your breathing increases and your pulse rate goes up. If your pulse is above 90, you are being influenced by your emotions. This isn’t the time to confront. Ephesians 4:29 says, “No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need so that it gives grace to those who hear.” (CSB) If you’re angry, you may say something that will tear down rather than build up.
2. DON’T USE ABSOLUTES.
Never say never and never say always. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to throw out these absolute phrases.
3. DON’T GET HISTORICAL
It’s unfair to bring up something from the past. Stay in the moment and deal with the issue at hand. If you go historical, you will usually become hysterical.
4. DON’T NAME CALL
This goes back to the verse in Ephesians. It’s also damaging to compare your spouse to someone else. To say, “Why can’t you be more like . . .” or “You’re acting just like your mother (or father),” is not constructive. Get rid of these phrases.
5. DON’T THREATEN
In the heat of conflict, have you been tempted to say, “If you do this, I’m walking out.” When you’re always threatening to leave or give up, you’re decaffeinating the seriousness of the subject you’re trying to deal with. Translation: I don’t care anymore and I’m not going to work on this.
6. DON’T KEEP SCORE
If your record is 4,321 arguments won and your spouse has only won 3, it’s time to stop. It doesn’t matter who ‘won’ the last argument. Successful communication is not about winning and losing.
7. DON’T CORRECT
We love to correct our spouses when they’re telling a story or saying something. “No, it wasn’t 14, it was 15.” Or “It wasn’t Mexico, it was in Belize.” When your spouse is telling a story, it’s like they’re on stage. You’re not supposed to correct them. It’s demeaning.
The “do’s” of communication in marriage
1. DO GIVE RESPECT
Respect is the basis for good marital communication. The Book of Genesis says we become ‘one flesh.’ If you’re disrespectful to your spouse, you’re really disrespecting yourself. If you intend to hurt and harm your spouse with your words, you’re causing harm to yourself.
2. DO LET THEM TALK
This is very important. Listen to them, and learn what kind of communicator they are by their body language. This goes back to the previous tip: “Don’t correct.”
3. DO COMPLIMENT PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY
No one can compliment me more than my spouse and have it mean more. We build each other up. One of the love languages is words of affirmation. Even if it isn’t your love language, learn to speak it. Don’t contradict in public, do compliment in public.
4. DO UNDERSTAND YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE AND YOUR CONFLICT RESOLUTION STYLE
Proverbs 15:1 (TLB) says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels.” If you’ve come from a home where conflict wasn’t handled Biblically, you may be tempted to fall back on old habits derived from observing your family of origin. Habits like shutting down and refusing to talk, walking out, or becoming furious won’t resolve the conflict.
Develop a strong marriage communication foundation
One of the great things you and your spouse can do to create a foundation for your marriage is to read the chronological Bible together. You will literally be on the same page. When there is an issue or argument or conflict, you know you’ve built a solid foundation on God’s Word.
God communicates to us in such a perfect fashion and in many different ways. His communication is perfect, and He desires for us to communicate the same with our spouses and with others.
- Talk to your spouse and tell him/her that you love them and want to get on the right track. If you’re a Christian, perhaps you could even pray together. You will be amazed at what God will do if you invite Him into your marriage. You both need to make a commitment that you want a healthier marriage.
- Seek help. Find a counselor. We have resources to help you. Click here.
- Join a small group. This should be a high priority so you can surround yourself with other couples who will help you.
- Attend church. Going to church every weekend will be massive for your spiritual growth and your marriage. God doesn’t want something from your marriage. He wants something for your marriage and being in church is part of the anchor.
- Get to work. Don’t just talk about wanting to heal your marriage. Instead, actually do the hard work, together.