Most couples place communication in the top three reasons their marriage is struggling. You can solve your marriage communication problems by using the Bible as a guide for your communication.
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The acronym THINK has gotten a lot of attention recently. It helps us decide if what we are about to say is worth saying or if we should just keep it to ourselves.
Before you speak, ask yourself:
T- Is it true?
H- Is it helpful?
I- Is it inspiring?
N- Is it necessary?
K- Is it kind?
I actually had a poster of this on the wall in the front of my classroom, and I referred to it to remind my fifth graders to think before they speak. It didn’t always work, but they were only kids, still trying to learn to navigate social situations.
The problem is, adults have the same trouble following this advice in our closest relationships. Even in situations where we may feel hurt or angry, we should still strive to be the adult in the room and only say what will help move the conversation in a positive direction.
The Bible includes guidance on how to treat others, and if we are to be treating others in the Church and the world in these ways, we should try to apply it twice as much to our spouses.
The ninth commandment is direct and unmistakable. Don’t lie. Not even little white ones. Honesty is essential for effective marriage communication.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16
Is what you’re saying helping your spouse move forward in the situation, or is it pulling him back into despair. If you have good advice, especially Biblical advice, say it. If it makes them feel worse, don’t.
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. Proverbs 22:9
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Sometimes we just need to keep our mouths shut. Just because we think it doesn’t mean it needs to be said. Maybe you do need to say it, but this isn’t the right time. Be wise with your words.
My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, Proverbs 3:21
Seriously, be nice. Many couples are completely comfortable speaking to each other in ways they would never talk to anyone else.
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2
No filthy communication
What you say to your spouse every time you open your mouth sets the stage for your ability to communicate well. There are some things you shouldn’t say, especially if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus.
Consider this verse:
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Colossians 3:8
This verse is specific to certain types of communication that should not easily roll off a believer’s lips. It also isn’t a stretch to assume that it refers to all kinds of abusive or disrespectful language.
Any marriage communication that would be considered “filthy” to God needs to be stopped and avoided. It’s not just vulgar or obscene words, but also ones that are offensive or objectionable.
Instead, anytime you are talking with your spouse, use your words in a Godly uplifting way to bring more joy into your marriage.
How are you using your words with your spouse? Are you building them up or tearing them down (either in person or when talking to others). Are you lying to them or about them? Do you intentionally use your words to build up or to tear down?
Consider your tone
It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. I’m sure your mother told you that while you were growing up. I know mine did! 🤣
We are created to pick up on emotional reactions, and the tone of voice with which someone speaks to us can trigger us. Then we turn the issue into a bigger deal than it needs to be. The situation then escalates and turns into a much larger problem.
When you speak, you need to take control of your tone. Be careful about how you say things.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
The University of Southern California set out to determine if the tone of voice couples use truly made any difference in a relationship. They created an algorithm to track inflections in couples’ voices as they shared in a therapy session. Results showed that when couples speak respectfully to one another, the overall level of happiness they report in their relationship is higher.
So if you feel yourself getting snippy or sarcastic with your spouse, slow down. Take a breath. Get your emotions under control. Your spouse will hear you more clearly when you speak in a soft voice.
Watch your body language and your facial expressions.
Sometimes we don’t have to say anything at all and still put up barriers to effective marriage communication.
Communication is not all about words. It also includes the subtle signals your body language sends to your spouse. More than half of the information you communicate comes through body language, the way you present yourself physically.
Body language can give off both positive and negative messages to the person you are talking to. Positive signals can say something like, “I am interested in what you are saying!” Negative signals let the other person know that you don’t believe anything they say, you’re angry or bored.
Here are some negative body language cues you may be giving off.
Fidgeting: Playing with something means you are bored or impatient.
Tapping your foot or fingers: This movement suggests you are impatient or nervous.
Staring: Having eyes fixed on one thing conveys boredom.
Hunching over: This posture looks like you lack confidence.
Crossing arms: This makes you appear defensive.
Hiding your hands: People think you are hiding something when you do this.
Touching your face: If your hand is in front of your mouth, you appear timid. Rubbing nose, eyes, ears, head, or neck- These movements create doubt in what you are saying or hearing.
Not making eye contact: Indicates a lack of interest or confidence.
Intentionally focus on the way you position your body when you are speaking with your spouse. You could be saying more than you want to or giving off the wrong idea entirely.
Want to learn more about body language? Try reading The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Hidden Meaning Behind People’s Gestures and Expressions. It will help you understand more about the silent indicators your spouse is giving you about their true feelings.
Have you noticed anything that you are doing that is causing damage to the way you communicate with your spouse? Whether it’s things like negative body language, speaking without thinking, using a hostile tone, and using abusive or disrespectful words, it’s not too late to change.
The truth is, no matter how many issues you have with communication or other relationship problems, you can create a marriage that is strong, healthy, and based on the Word of God.
At Marriage Confetti, we are committed to helping you build a marriage that will last a lifetime. We do this by understanding God’s word, creating a positive mindset, and building new marriage habits.
It’s all about building a better future, starting where you are today.
If you are interested in finding out what we have to offer, please take us for a test drive! We offer free, private 45-minute marriage breakthrough sessions.
Answer a few questions, so we can get to know you, and we’ll schedule a time to chat online! No strings, nothing. We just want to help as many couples as possible move forward in their marriages.