From Communication Gap to Communication Greatness
Companionship is one of the great benefits and blessings of marriage. And, of course, you and I as wives should be able to share our concerns with our husbands. But, wise, godly speech (which God calls “apples of gold”) and increased persuasiveness is all about how we say what we say.
I remember all too well the early years of our marriage when my words were not apples of gold. I fussed to Jim about how I wished he could spend more time with me among the four jobs he had to support our growing family. At ﬁrst, I whined. When that didn’t work, I cried. When that didn’t work, I screamed. When that didn’t work, I stomped and sulked. What a brat I was! This way of communicating definitely put a damper on the blessing of any time we did get to ourselves!
As I began growing in my knowledge of the Bible I soon understood more about Jim’s roles as a Christian husband (one role was to provide for his family). I also understood more about my roles as a Christian wife (one being to help Jim). And, I learned some of God’s methods of communicating. I knew in my Spirit-convicted heart that something had to give. Something had to change. So, my friend, here is what I did in my efforts to learn to communicate God’s way. I began…
…learning to pray
At the first hint of frustration or self-pity, I prayed.
…learning to say nothing
Whenever my emotions approached the danger point, I again prayed, and then did whatever was required to stop the ﬂow by saying nothing.
…learning to wait
I knew Jim was tired and almost stretched to the limit (and so was I!). By God’s grace, I learned to wait for the right time to communicate. For us that became once a week during our 89-cent Coke date at the fast-food restaurant across the street while an angelic neighbor watched the kids.
…learning to make a list
While I waited, I faithfully and carefully — and prayerfully — wrote down everything I felt Jim and I needed to talk through. This list included issues like methods of disciplining our daughters, decisions that needed to be made, and financial concerns.
…learning to make an appointment
If our Coke date wasn’t going to work out, I would approach Jim and schedule another time for us to talk about pressing matters. By doing this, Jim could pick the time that was best and most convenient for him. From that moment on, we both anticipated the exact time for our talk.
…learning to write it out
Many times I would, with much prayer, write out the exact words I wanted to say — how I wanted to “present my case” and any options or solutions I had thought of. I learned this from Proverbs 15:28 — “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.”
…learning “to take the blame
This is my own phrase for communicating about serious issues with “a meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4 KJV). My principle drawn from these guiding words for women was (and still is), “Meekness takes the blame.” Let me explain.
You and I can begin our sentences with “I” or with “you.” The choice is ours. Typically, in situations of contention we begin by addressing our spouse with accusations of “Your version is wrong” or “How come you don’t…”
But, with a motto of meekness in mind, we might say to our spouse, “I’m having a problem understanding this…or seeing how this can work…or accepting this change. Can you help me out…or help me understand?”
Without this motto in mind, my mouth would automatically blurt out something hostile like, “Why do you always…” or “Your idea is stupid” And I’ve found that when I begin with “I” (as in “I’m having a problem understanding this” instead of “Your idea is stupid”), our communication as a couple goes much more smoothly. What a difference!
Needless to say, these seven disciplines put me — and my marriage — on the path to improved communication and increased blessings. They can do the same for you!
For more information on this topic,
read A Wife After God’s Own Heart.