This month at Intentional Today, we are looking at communication in marriage.
We started by looking at the options a wife has when her husband struggles to engage.
Since I write from a wife’s point of view, someone wanted to know my husband’s story, how he worked through stonewalling and shutting down.
My husband doesn’t write a lot so I thought I would rerun a guest post he wrote for another website, to give you an idea of how he processes communication.
Hopefully, his thoughts shed a light into how your healthy husband might be seeing communication in your marriage. Obviously husbands are different and you’ll need to study your man, talk and engage to figure out how to better communicate.
But I hope a glimpse into husband’s thinking will offer some ray of clarity in your own marriage. Here’s Tommy, on the things he’s learned about communication in marriage.
Please note that this post applies to marriages with goodwill, where both spouses (not just one spouse) are committed to growth and where the fruit of confession and repentance is evident. This post encourages healthy couples wrestling through common communication problems.
However, if your spouse has patterns of destructive behavior, if they refuse to take ownership of their individual problems, if they are abusive, controlling, chronically neglect your needs, those are not “normal marriage problems.” Those are individual issues and I’m so sorry you’re facing this situation in your marriage. Please check out these posts for more insights.
My wife loves to talk. It’s not rare for us to talk about a talk that we’ve recently had. In contrast, I’ve always felt a certain disadvantage when it comes to communication.
In the early days of marriage, I had challenges communicating when my wife and I had disagreements, which was rather often.
My M.O. in times of trouble consisted of avoiding “the talk,” and if all else failed, shutting down. Now, this would surprise even me because, being in sales, I talk for a living. I really did not know how to communicate when things were rough.
I would feel a paralysis that I could not explain. So I would become defensive and hide my heart and feelings, and often go through “the talk” while strategically protecting myself.
As the years have gone by, I have gotten somewhat better at this communication thing. I have learned these three things.
1. Communication in marriage is a heart thing.
In good times and in rough times, through the exciting stuff and the mundane, my wife wants to share her heart. She wants to know my heart, and she loves it when I show that I want to know hers.
(Note to self: It is not enough to want to know her heart; I need to show it.)
Marriage requires marriage-level communication, and M-Level communication needs an engaged heart.
My wife is more emotionally intelligent, and that means that what comes easily to her might be a jigsaw puzzle for me. I have to figure out what I’m feeling, then find the words, then be brave enough to share it.
2. Communication in marriage is a mind thing.
I learned quickly that this is more my need and less hers. Logic can be incredibly dangerous in times of heated discussion. I tried to use it often. The results were less than desirable.
Remember the note to self? When I tried to makes sense of things using the almighty logic, without sharing my heart and – more importantly – showing that I care about hers, it would have disastrous results.
Be that as it may; I still need things to make sense. Instead of settling in my confusion, I’m learning that asking, “How do you feel about ______?” will often lead me to the answer to “How in the world did you end up at that conclusion!!!?”
3. Communication in marriage is a trust thing.
More than anything, I’ve learned that I have a deep-seated need to know that my wife is on my side, and it turns out that she has the very same need.
The more I believe that she’s on my side, the more I can trust her with my poorly communicated feelings. The more I expose the puzzle pieces, the more they make sense, even to me.
This guy, Peter, was onto something “In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation]. (1 Peter 3:7a AMP)
Embracing my need to talk and understanding his need to process
How humility changed the course of our marriage
Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash.com