What is the one thing you want to learn most about before you get married?
This was the question we asked to three couples as we began six weeks of leading a group of engaged couples. The topic they were most interested in learning about?
It is the most important aspect of marriage because if you don’t know how to communicate well, everything else around you will break down. Over the years of mentoring young couples, I have recognized that many issues that arise come out of lack of communication. Often times people get into arguments because they either don’t get enough information or they misunderstand the original intent. Something so simple can be a catalyst for a major fight because no one was willing to ask questions to clarify the meaning.
Tell your spouse how things make you feel.
When you go into marriage know that you are not perfect and your spouse is not perfect. If you are hurt, you need to speak up, not shut down. And when your spouse speaks up, you need to be willing to listen. When you shut down and try to bury issues, that solves nothing. You may get over the temporary hurt, but eventually the issue that was never solved will return. If you cycle through this process enough it becomes a lot easier to pull away from your spouse rather than bringing you closer. It also becomes easier to listen to the negative self-talk in your head.
Satan wants to disrupt your marriage.
Genesis 2:24 (NIV)
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
This statement is found several times throughout the Bible. And this makes Satan angry. Why?
Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
A couple who love God and love each other get married, that means God is a part of their marriage. Satan does not like it when couples have a Godly marriage. He will try everything in his power to divide and conquer. He goes after you in communication because it tends to be the weakest link. Couples who do not realize their communication skills (or lack thereof) prior to marriage will have a difficult time making it through other issues. Satan does not want you to learn to communicate. He wants you to misunderstand and get hurt. He wants you to hear the negative self-talk he whispers in your ear. He wants you to fail and become part of the rising statistic of divorce. Because if you fail, Satan wins.
Reach out to others.
When you realize that your communication is breaking down and you cannot figure out how to fix it. Do not be afraid to reach out to other Godly couples that can give you an outside perspective and also pray for you.
This does not mean run out and tell your mom how horrible your spouse is to try to prove your point. No. No. NO! Never, ever, ever go to a family member when you are having issues with your spouse. What usually happens is that eventually you will forgive your spouse, but the relative’s perspective of your spouse will be changed forever. They may not be so supportive of your marriage because of the tainted view.
It is best to find a Godly, married couple who has “been there, done that.” You want to find people where you are safe to share your heart and also where they can challenge you when necessary. You want a couple who have the “fruit on the tree” where their marriage is not one of destruction, but of healthy growth. Be wary of those that want to commiserate and help you tear down your spouse. And be extremely careful that you do not seek out counsel from those that tear down their spouse on a regular basis. That is not healthy, it is just more of what Satan wants.
If you can get a handle on communication, you can conquer a lot!
Learning how to communicate is not easy and it takes practice. It is also humbling because you have to learn to be open and vulnerable, trusting that your spouse will care for your heart. We all are human and make mistakes and a lot of times we unintentionally hurt one another. But if you commit to growing and learning how to be a better communicator and listener in your marriage the miscommunication will happen less often as you grow together as a married couple.
Need a resource to help resolve conflict?
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