Communication...a single word with so much impact! Words can give life, motivation, momentum, growth, give strength and encouragement; OR words can give death, fuel an apathetic attitude, create a sense of loss, cause confusion and disconnect...bottom line: COMMUNICATION GIVES. The question is what is YOUR communication doing: Giving life to your marriage relationship or giving death to it? It's a bold statement; but communication is a marriage maker or a marriage breaker. (Proverbs 18:21)
Communication is a marriage matter that needs cultivated in marriage. "The foundation of a good marriage that will last a lifetime has to be built by communication." (The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage by Stormie O'Martian)
One of the best things we did 6 months after we got married was take a marriage class offered through our church. It was a 13 week marriage class that addressed various marriage matters from communication and roles in marriage, to finances, children, in-laws...you name it, it was addressed. Why did we do this? Anything we want to improve and get better at, we invest time, often money, and effort into getting better. What better reason to invest time and energy than our covenant relationship of marriage? We make it a regular practice of attending marriage enrichment events, reading at least 1 marriage book a year together, planning date nights, purposefully finding activities we enjoy doing together to cultivate our friendship and at the top of our PURPOSEFUL marriage endeavors is setting aside time each day to communicate.
Communication is more then just sharing the details of your day. It's checking in with each other on a deeper level. Asking questions with regards to emotions, thoughts, feelings, dreams; frustrations, fears, concerns...it's giving each other the right to complain with the purpose of finding a solution together. Communication breakdown occurs when we don't understand the various ways people communicate.
We look at communication very differently. Bill's way isn't right or wrong; my way isn't right or wrong...our ways are just different. We have learned to understand and appreciate those differences which has enabled us to take our differences and use them to strengthen us...especially in the area of communication.
One of the marriage enrichment events we attend is the "Weekend to Remember" with Family Life ministries. We always return refreshed, strengthened and positively challenged in ways to grow in our marriage. Communication is always a hot topic during these events. With that said, I'd like to share something we gleaned at a "Weekend to Remember" event about the ways people communicate. Which one describes you? Your spouse? Knowing this will help reduce miscommunication and improve your ability as a couple to enjoy deeper communication.
1. Land the Plane vs. Enjoy the Ride Communicators
Communicators who want to find the shortest path to their destination are the "land the plane" communicators...get to the point. Those who focus on the experience are "enjoy the ride" communicators...the more details, the better.
2. Share Your Feelings vs. Just the Facts Communicators
Communicators whose emotions are an intricate part of their communicating and thinking are "share your feelings" communicators; while "just the facts" communicators keep logic and facts at the forefront of their communications, purposefully setting emotions aside because emotions interfere.
3. Thinking Out Loud vs. Let's Take Turns Communicators
Conversation for a "thinking out loud" communicator is a group activity where questions/comments are inserted as thoughts occur even if the other person is talking. "Let's take turns" communicators are all about taking turns when talking: first you talk, then I will.
No. 3 was a challenge for us because we are opposites when it comes to this point. However, because we continue to learn about & improve our communication, we are quick to forgive and know we are on the same team...we have been able to appreciate this difference and use it to help us grow.
Miscommunication and issues arise when we differ as husband and wife in our communication styles. Recognizing the differences, allowing your spouse the freedom to be different, and adjusting how we TALK AND LISTEN so that we are honoring our spouse's way of communicating, creates a healthy atmosphere for growth in marriage.
Your spouse should become the person with whom you can be yourself and reach the deepest level of communication with: complete transparency. This does not happen over night, but it will happen when you purposefully invest time, energy and effort into learning how to communicate successfully.
A word of caution when communicating: ANGER will destroy communication. "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth" (Colossians 3:8) If anger is easily triggered in your marriage when communicating, those wrong habits of communication can be replaced with healthy, new habits of
communication. Purposefully seek Godly Christian Counsel through the pastors at your church, message us for resources, attend a marriage class or attend a marriage enrichment event, read a book together on communication in marriage...don't settle for less then God's best...He is a God of relationship. He wants communication with us everyday. The covenant marriage relationship is the closest picture of that...purpose to grow in communication with each other.
"Put on...compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (Colossians 3:12).
1. Take some time to talk about and find out what kind of communicator you are? Which one is your spouse? Then discuss the pros/cons of these differences as you communicate. Be proactive and discuss how to avoid misunderstandings/miscommunication when you are talking together.
2. Choose a book on Communication in Marriage to read together. Here are a few wee recommend: Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich; Improving Communication in Your Marriage with Family Life Ministries; The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman; Strengths Based Marriage by Jimmy Evans & Allan Kelsey
3. Attend a Weekend to Remember event in your area. See the attached link for an event near you. Use our group name CRAFT GROUP to receive $100 off registration!