Communication is the lifeline of every marriage relationship because it is how information is exchanged between couples. It is how couples connect in all things intending to reach mutual understanding. A wrong application of communication skills can destroy a marriage relationship and good communication skills will help the marriage relationship to grow and keep on getting better.
Lack of good communication between couples will collapse, destroy or hinder the growth of any marriage relationship. Every thriving marriage relationship is an indication of the presence of good communication skills by couples. To have a better marriage relationship, you must learn the needed communication skills and keep on improving it.
Communication is a two-way process; the outgoing and incoming therefore it takes at least two people to have effective communication and in marriage-husband and wife. The husband must possess the needed communication skills so also the wife if they want to have a good marriage relationship.
7 Communication Skills That Will Improve Your Marriage Relationship:
- Know when to present a matter.
- Talk to your spouse.
- Be a good listener.
- Listen with empathy.
- Avoid been defensive.
- Be slow to anger
- Speak good words.
i) Know when to present a matter.. “…. It is wonderful to say the right thing at the right – time!” Proverbs 5:23( NLT ).
It is a must that you understand the chemistry of your spouse; his/her temperament, moods and disposition. Understanding this will aid in your communication with your spouse because there is always the right time to speak to somebody and get the desired result. Find out this time and utilize it. Knowing when to speak with your spouse is one the communication skill that will transform your marriage and give you the needed peace and joy that every marriage demands.
It might interest you to know that there are some issues you need to commit to the hand of God before you can discuss it with your spouse otherwise the outcome of the discussion might be devastating.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV).
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 (NIV).
Leverage on these divine provisions; don’t take things for granted because words are very powerful, they can build and it can destroy therefore always seek divine assistance while discussing some issues with your spouse.
ii) Talk to your spouse.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare…4 Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:1,4(NLT).
Every human being deserves respect, therefore, do your best to talk to your spouse with respect. Make it a mutual discussion and Jesus will see you through. Shouting, nagging, complaining will get you nowhere. The only thing they can offer is strife and strife is a door opener to the devil. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. James 3:16(KJV).
Self – control is the number one habit you must possess if you want to master the communication skill of talking with your spouse. Without self-control, it will be difficult to have an effective conversation and discussion with your spouse. I have learned from experience that nothing good will come out of shouting at your spouse. Though am still struggling to overcome this evil habit of shouting, my joy is that I get better in communicating with my wife.
But thank God that self-control has been freely given to us as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. As a believer, you have to always collaborate and work with the Holy Spirit for your character and spiritual development, growth and maturity.
iii) Be a good listener.
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19-20 (NLT).
A good listener is one who understands before replying or speaking, therefore, you need to learn this communication skill of understanding before speaking if you want you to desire a better relationship with your spouse. This skill demands that you talk less and listen more because amid too many words you stand a chance of making mistake in your speech which might be injurious to your spouse.
Understanding before speaking is a sign of maturity, strength, and wisdom. You stand a better chance to communicate better when you understand what you want to say. This skill will bring you automatic respect from your spouse and also help you actualize your motive for the discussion. Be quick to hear but slow to speak.
iv) Listen with empathy.
Empathy in its simplest definition is the awareness of the feelings and emotions of your spouse therefore, empathy goes far beyond mere sympathy, which might be considered feeling for a spouse. Empathy is you been aware of the feelings, needs, and concerns of your spouse and approach your discussion or communication from that point of view.
Develop the skill of understanding the feelings and the emotional state of your spouse. Infuse your mind to his/her own so that you can draw out the context of the message and decode his/her emotional state. Always listen with your full attention; don’t assume you know what he/she is about to say or is saying. Don’t interrupt unless for classification or to affirm to him/her that you are following and when you want to speak, do that with respect.
v) Avoid been defensive.
Let people finish speaking before you try to answer them. That way you will not embarrass yourself and look foolish. Proverbs 18:13 (ERV).
It is a natural tendency to be defensive but is has never been a good communication approach. When your spouse brings up an issue, concentrate on understanding him/her before defending yourself. Don’t in a hurry to speak and when you want to speak, let your spouse know that you understood him/her ( You have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help you apply self-control and wisdom as you communicate with your spouse). Defending yourself, shouting, nagging and complaining does not solve any issue rather it escalates them.
vi) Be slow to anger.
It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army. Proverbs 16:32 (TLB). Ambrose Bierce said, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
I know from experience that anger is not good because it has caused me more pain than anything else in my marriage. Been defensive while communication with your spouse is one of the habits that breed anger in a marriage relationship. Been defensive is a sign and indication of pride and it is pride that causes and fuels anger in a marriage relationship. My advice is; defend nothing, rather present things the way they are or the way you understand them.
vii) Speak good words.
Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.Proverbs 16:24 (NLT).Be mindful of your words. Don’t speak to get back to your spouse. Speak to calm him/her down and then communicate your point. Your words must be in grace.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:4-7 (NLT).
Jesus said to the crowd if you know that you have not sinned before, be the first to throw a stone on this woman. Jesus called all of them sinners without insulting or abusing them. He calmed their emotions down without offending them and still communicated His point.
It was my wife that thought me this to know this. A day came, she told me that the best way to give her advice is to speak with her gently and not by shouting and I have tried this and it is working so well. Anytime I do otherwise, it will be like pouring water on a stone and the whole matter will escalate instead of been settled. Words spoken in anger will never yield good fruit in a marriage relationship. Rather speak kind words because they are honey to the soul will always yield you good results.
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Ephesians 4:29 (MSG).