Do you know what the most important aspect of a healthy marriage is? We believe it’s communication. Learn how to talk, listen and respond in a God-glorifying way and your marriage is sure to not only survive, but thrive.
We often say that communication is the soil in which all the other intimacies grow: spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical.
How well do you communicate? What does good communication require?
1. It requires listening to understand.
If you regularly disagree over insignificant matters it may be that you are not really listening to each other. Listening takes discipline to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to your spouse. Looking at your smart phone while your spouse is talking is not listening with the intent of understanding what they are saying.
2. It requires trust.
Hearing what your spouse is saying and understanding their reason for saying it requires a level of trust and confidence that many marriages lack. If you tend to judge and evaluate the reason your spouse said what they said there may be distrust of their motives lurking in your communication. Gary Thomas calls this tendency being a prosecuting attorney who is looking for what our spouse has done wrong and charges them as guilty, rather than the physician who is there to heal and help your spouse be the best they can be.
3. It requires time.
Good communication doesn’t happened as we are passing each other on the way to our different obligations. It happens when we purpose to slow down taking the time to ask good questions to fully hear what our spouse is saying.
4. It requires vulnerability.
Being vulnerable with your spouse often takes years of cultivating the other aspects of healthy communication first. I’ll never forget the time God asked me to share some very heart-disclosing struggles I was having with Tom. I hesitated because I thought he would laugh at me, because he is unlike me in this area. However, I discovered the exact opposite; he listened, cared for me and helped me push through the struggle. Could it be that our enemy knows this and will do all he can to prevent us from being vulnerable in our communication?
This list is not exhaustive by any means. What keys have you found helpful in promoting healthy communication in your marriage?