GOOD COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard women say, “My husband just can’t communicate.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard men say, “I just can’t get a straight answer from my wife.” There is no arguing that men and women communicate differently. God wired-up men and women very differently. While women focus on talking, men often focus on fixing things or finding solutions.

Communication is one of the glues of marriage and other relationships as well. There is no telling how many marriages have been killed by ineffective communication? The bible teaches and life verifies that good communication is not automatic. It must be learned and developed.

Here are some tips for good communication…

  • DON’T SEND MIXED MESSAGES: Don’t say one thing and then act another. You can’t expect your spouse to read your mind. Like the man who asked his wife who’d been giving him the silent treatment, “Are you mad at me?” “I’m not mad,” she replied. “Are you sure nothing is wrong?” he asked. “Nothing IS WRONG,” she said. So he tries one last time and says, “I can tell something is wrong.” To which she replies, “WE’LL, IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS, I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU.” Mixed messages and the silent treatment won’t accomplish anything but problems.
  • TIMING: Timing is essential for the stand up comedian, the suspense novelist and even in our marriages and families. It’s probably best not to meet the tired spouse who’s been working all day, at the door at the end of their day to say, “We’ve got problems.” When someone is engrossed in something or walking out the door are not times to say, “Let’s talk.” There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “Bad timing equals fireworks.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7).
  • PLAN: Plan your words before you say them. Solomon said in Proverbs 16:23, “Intelligent people think before they speak.” That means you don’t shoot from the hip, and you don’t sling your words around carelessly. Planning your words means never using derogatory words like dumb, stupid, idiot and other words that tear down.
  • FOCUS: If you focus on your spouse’s needs (or children’s needs), they will listen. You don’t want to communicate to someone but with someone. (Ephesians 4:29, 5:28-29)
  • LISTEN: We like talking much more than listening, but a good communicator will seek to understand then to be understood. Don’t be like the jerk I know that recently said this about his wife, “If I want my wife’s opinion, I’ll give it to her.” Be a good listener. You listen with your eyes when you make eye contact. You listen with your body by focusing on what’s being said. “He who answers before listening – this is his folly and shame” Proverbs 18:13.
  • ENCOURAGE: Speak positively not abrasively. Any fool can be a critic. Labeling, negativity, nagging and sarcasms don’t work and aren’t healthy communication. Try and finish all communication by building up, not tearing down. (Proverbs 16:21-24, Ephesians 4:26).
  • REAFFIRM: Following any discussion that gets heated or when you disagree with one another, it’s always good to reaffirm your commitment to one another and reaffirm your love for one another.

So, two questions for you today…

  1. What do you see is the biggest problem in communication between men and women?
  2. The “inability to communicate” is one of the top 5 reasons for divorce in our nation. Here’s a list of the top 5 reasons for divorce today (unranked): Money, Sexual Problems, Communication, A Cheating Spouse, Children & In-laws. Rank these in the order you think they fall from #1 to #5.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
24 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Gallagher says:

    Great thoughts – I need to send the link to my wife, of course.

    Here are my ponders to your questions:

    #1. I believe one of the biggest problems is as we hear people speak, whether in marriage or outside of marriage, we are already developing our answers before the other person is finished talking.

    #2 These are hard to rank, but I will try:
    1. Communication (it involves all the others)
    2. Money
    3. A Cheating Spouse
    4. Sexual Problems
    5. Children and in-laws.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i agree with gallagher.
    we don’t really listen, and assume we hear what we want to hear or think we heard without confirming what we though the other person said.

    1. Money
    2. communication
    3. sex
    4. family
    5. I wonder if most adultery occurs as a result of the other four things, and is therefore in a different category

    brian.

  3. Tim Archer says:

    I like the family picture; how long did all those shirts stay white?

    An overlooked aspect of marital communication is gender differences. For example, I read a study a few years ago where the participants were asked to wear headphones and listen to a story being read. Problem was, they were actually hearing two stories, one in each ear. Most women tried to listen to both and only got snatches of each. Most men tuned one of the stories out and fully heard one of the stories. This illustrates a common difference: men become engrossed in things (like Spurs games!) and tune out everything else, while women tend to be aware of everything around them.

    Understanding basic differences like that can really help.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  4. Stachia says:

    1. money
    2. communication
    3. cheating spouse
    4. family
    5. sexual problems

    I agree with Brian that when cheating occurs it is usually as a a result of the the other problems.

  5. TREY MORGAN says:

    I think you guys nailed it. We’re trying to talk before we listen.

    Here’s what I read:

    1 – Money
    2 – Sexual Problems
    3 – Communication
    4 – A Cheating Spouse
    5 – Children & In-Laws

  6. The Preacher's Household: says:

    I think when either one of them is hard of ‘listening’ then it could lead to hardening of the heart.

    1 Money
    2 communication
    3.Sexual Problems
    4. Children & in-laws
    5. Cheating spouse
    I again agree that the last one has something to do with all of the above. In fact, I think they all relate to each other and if you are having trouble in one area it will spill over to the others.
    Kathy

  7. lisa leichner says:

    Wow, Tim’s comment really struck a chord with me. I can’t tell you how often my husband starts to talk to me, realizes he doesn’t have my full attention (when really I’m trying to split my attention between him and a dozen other things) and gets upset with me. I see now where he & I both are getting that from. I’ll have to remember that when we’re trying to talk.

  8. Matt says:

    Now what were you trying to say? I just didn’t quite understand what you were trying to get across. :)

  9. Monalea says:

    I think the biggest communication problems are from a man and woman’s prespective. He logical and she is emotional.

    Maybe we should just hire a translator????

  10. Monalea says:

    Question??????

    What is the Subscribe Me! All about???

    Monalea

  11. TREY MORGAN says:

    I’ve had a request or two for the button. The “Subscribe Me” is so if you want to receive posts via email it will email you and tell you when I’ve made a new post.

    Make sense?

  12. TREY MORGAN says:

    PS – Monalea … welcome back and I’m glad you are home.

  13. Neva says:

    One of the best professional experiences I ever had was when the hospital required us all to take a communication seminar. Many things really made sense and have made my life better. But because this is your blog and not mine :)
    I will only share two.
    First—Although feelings are real, they are not facts. When we communicate our feelins with our spouse we have to remember this. For instance just because I feel like you make me sound stupid does not mean that is a fact–it means the feeling is real.
    Second–when we need to “Discuss” (with the big D) there are ways to fight fair—if we are not fair, we are sinning.
    Just my two sense—
    Peace
    Neva
    Trey, thanks for this post, all marriages need special care.
    n

  14. TREY MORGAN says:

    Neva …. if you swing back by and read this, please feel free to share more. We’d love to hear more.

    Trey

  15. Neva says:

    Did you like the way I spelled sense? (cents). Some of this stuff is really common sense. One hint they gave us is that the word “you” is like glue. When we are discussing with someone else and words get heated, the comments they remember most are the ones that begin with “you”. Since we have a relationship with our spouse or whoever and that relationship is important to us, we start the discussion with “You are really a great husband. You provide for our family, you help with the kids, etc. Then we go on with sometimes I hear you say blah, blah blah(whatever the words are) and I feel—-hurt, angry, sad, stupid etc. (Sometimes we can even add something to the effect of “Because you are kind and you love me, I know you would not intentionally hurt me”
    Then, even though they hear the expression of our feelings, we have not wounded them and statistics show that wounded people are more defensive and internalize and personalize more than those whose esteem are intact.
    Most of us when we get defensive, we shut off, we dont hear anything else.
    So, if we want our spouses, our children, our mates to really hear
    us, we need to remember that you is glue. We will get further with them when they have something to live up to. They will not want to use words or do things that make us feel so badly because they are good, kind, etc.
    I hope this makes sense.
    It really was a powerful seminar. I have used this technique in counseling and in group therapy and with Ned and the boys. The response so far has always been positive.
    Peace
    Neva

  16. Brandon says:

    I wish I had the problems listed at least I would learn from them! :)

  17. JP Manzi says:

    Great thoughts here Trey. So, when do you plan on writing a book? You obviously have a wealth of information wanting to come out.

    As for your questions below.

    1. Biggest problem? Easy. Simple. One is a man and one is a women.

    2. 1. Communication
    2. Children and In-Laws
    3. Sexual Problems
    4. Cheating Spouse
    5. Money

  18. Monalea says:

    Where are you today? Learning to communicate in your marriage??? Ha ha!

    WWW

  19. TREY MORGAN says:

    Monalea…

    The boys were out of school today, so I spent the day out at some friends in the country. We fished, rode four-wheelers, played basketball and kickball, swam in an pond and jumped off the cliffs down into the pond.

    It was a pretty fun day of just playing!

    :)

  20. Monalea says:

    Glad you took the day off and had fun. Maybe sometime Daryl and I could sneak away and join you!

  21. Di says:

    I will answer the second one first. I can answer it out of our (my hubby an my) own issues.

    1. communication (I agree it holds all the others.)
    2. money
    3. sex
    4. a cheating spouse
    5. children and in-laws

    After a brief semi-affair, if one can exist, on my part, my husband finally agreed to couple’s therapy. It took someone else being interested in me and me finding it very very difficult to ignore, before he was scared enough to get help.

    My husband’s family was very disfunctional outwardly. His father was an alcoholic, his mother paranoid schizophrenic. My parents just never, ever communicated. We were doomed.

    Three years of therapy and we learned enough about ourselves to see the “dance” we follow. We now communicate pretty well. Our finances were good enough to have good credit when we applied for a loan last summer. And, we have a good sex life, even at our age.
    :-)

    Our biggest problem with communication was the fact that we didn’t know how to communicate.

  22. TREY MORGAN says:

    Di,

    Love your answers. Sounds like you’re working through issues that come up from time to time. It IS the key to making your marriage work. We must ALWAYS seek help when we come to an impass.

    Sounds like you guys are figuring it out. If we learn to communicate we can work through any of the other 4 things.

  23. Di says:

    Yep, we can. Our committment to God first and then each other made all the difference too.

    Some people go out to eat. We go to therapy. Better use of the money. :-)

    But we could not always afford that. Even now it is only because of insurance that pays most of it that we can do it. It bothers me that many can’t afford it.

  24. Improve Your Mind says:

    Sincerity joined with Compassion does it for me. Sometimes some Forbearance must be added.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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