Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, and does it improve on the silence? – Unknown
As a couple, you must find the best time to talk things over, because talking through crucial issues takes time. You need to make sure that you are not trying to talk when you are tired, irritable, distracted or hungry.
Another unfruitful habit you must avoid when talking about important issues is multi-tasking. Issues of the heart require quality, time and quantity attention. So seat down with your spouse and decide what time is best for you. When can you both concentrate the best? When is your blood-sugar normal? Where can you seat down and talk without distractions? What needs to be switched off? And, who needs to be told not to disturb you?
This is so important that I would even encourage you to put dates in your dairy for this. If you don’t, other ‘urgent’ things will rob you of the quality time you need to smooth out your concerns or anxieties with your spouse.
If you have a car, I’m sure you create time to wash it, service it, and repair it. You find the time to maintain your home, clear out the rubbish and redecorate. You squeeze out time to lubricate old relationships, attend parties and visit family.
Well, creating time to maintain your marriage is even more important than all the other things you find time for.
When my children were younger, my wife and I would send them to bed, drive down to the local McDonald restaurant, buy ourselves a cup of tea (and some fries for me), and talk to our heart’s content. As I look back over the years, those quality times apart helped to build the fabric of the marriage we enjoy today.
If you prioritise your marriage and regularly create time to settle the little irritations in your relationship, you will never need to ‘call the in the Calvary’ to settle a major war between you and your spouse. Furthermore, you will be cultivating the uplifting marriage of your dreams.
Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul, especially if Peter is your husband and Paul is the dud on the internet – Eagle's Proverbs.
10. Learn to Give and Get Regular Feedback from Your Spouse.
I have already mentioned that the way a person communicates is a composite of upbringing, training, conditioning, personality, language comprehension and the circumstances at hand.
None of these intricate components are the same for any two people. Therefore, it’s important to realise that good communication with your spouse will not happen overnight. Yes, it is very complex, but you can get better at it with time.
During a discussion (and particularly when conflict is brewing) learn to regularly ask your spouse whether what you believe you heard is what he or she actually meant. This is crucial because we often hear what our state of mind is predisposed to hearing.
For example, if I already believe that my spouse intentionally insults and hurts me at every opportunity, because she is mean; I will see and translate whatever she is saying through the lenses of my belief.
She may say something as innocent as, “How did your day go?” and I would hear, “I hope your day was as rotten as you made me feel last week, because you don’t deserve to have anything better”.
In the same way, your spouse may hear the words you uttered, but not interpret what you said, the way you meant it to be interpreted. That’s why it is always prudent to check that your spouse is on the same page with you during a serious discussion. That’s what I mean by regular feedback.
One way to do this is to ask your spouse to repeat to you (in his or her own words) what he or she believes you’ve been saying to them.
Once they’ve done so, you will be able to correct any misunderstandings or confirm that your communication was successful. In the same way, when you spouse has said something important or complex to you, it is often very helpful to try to repeat what you understand his or her request to be.
If you would add this concept to your important discussions:
- Conflicts in your marriage will reduce.
- You would understand each other better.
- Fewer misunderstandings will arise from your discussions.
- Your ability to communicate better would improve drastically.
- There would be fewer denials: “I said this” versus “No you didn’t”.
Make your spouse feel special, and he or she will feel that you are special too. I know that is what you want, and I know that you can have it, if you want it passionately enough. So, get to work!
Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.