Communication is perhaps one of the most important aspects of your marriage. Many (like us) don’t realize that communication is a true skill: it must be practiced with mindfulness and diligence; otherwise you won’t grow. This all sounds painfully obvious, so I do apologize, but it’s still a huge problem area for most couples! Selena and I have definitely had our share of communication issues! However, we’ve learned a ton along the way.
The video above describes four aspects of communication that we’ve learned to be aware of. Each one is important, but what’s also vital is that you’re aware of all four simultaneously! For instance, we talk about words and tone. If your tone is good but your words are off, what do you get? Sarcasm!
Go ahead and watch the video above….Buy if you’re the reading type, here’s an overview of what we covered in the video.
First things first
As with everything, we must root ourselves in scripture…just to make sure we’re not pulling ideas out of thin air. The idea that “words are powerful” is God’s idea. We didn’t think it up ourselves or learn it from Oprah… :)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Life and death!? What does that mean, exactly? And how should we apply it within marriage?
I strongly doubt it’s meant to say that we can cast spells like Harry Potter or “speak things into existence” as some motivational speakers would indicate.
The writer of this proverb is saying something very profound and simple at the same time: words have consequences. This is true in nearly all aspects of life: your job, your friendships, and most importantly, your family. Commentators have noted one part of the verse as very interesting: “…those who love it…“.
“Loving the tongue”, theologically speaking, usually refers to using many words…too many. Another way to say it is that those who “love the tongue” tend to be very frivolous with their communication and not careful in the slightest. This verse in Proverbs is a warning against exactly that. It is a behavioral recommendation, reminding us that how we communicate has very real consequences. Most will agree.
Words are unique in that once we say them, we can never take them back; not truly. Around our house we have a phrase we like to use: “you can’t unring that bell!” Once words are uttered, you can’t unsay them. You can apologize, but the damage is done. Knowing this, let’s look at 4 ways we can be wise with our words.
4 Important things to remember when talking to your spouse
1: Word choice matters
What vocabulary fills your household? To you tend to use toxic language with each other without realizing it? For instance, using the word “divorce” is never appropriate for your marriage. It’s not a term you toss around when frustrated or even jokingly. Also, name calling. Have you used demeaning words to refer to each other? Remember to use your words to breathe life into each other. Uplift your spouse instead of tearing him/her down.
2: Tone matters
The right words with the wrong tone can cause serious frustration. I’m not talking about “sugar coating” things to the point that you’re being fake, but just being mindful about how your spouse might interpret your words because of tone. Just a reminder… you probably already know this, but we can all improve in this area (us included)!
3: Timing matters
Try not to drop bombs on each other in inopportune times. One time, Selena got into a small automotive mishap and she was worried about telling me. She decided to wait until I was done working and home so we could talk face to face (it was a particularly stressful day). I was incredibly thankful that she waited and chose wise timing. Remember the context your spouse is living within. What has his/her day been like? Are they tired, stressed, or otherwise? What’s the overall “temperature” in your house (i.e. has your communication been healthy lately or not)? Using wise timing when discussing sensitive topics can save tons of frustration.
4: Trending matters
Sometimes you just wake up on the grumpy side of the bed. I know I do… I usually complain more often and I’m less mindful of how it might be affecting our family. If you’re trending toward the “death” side of the spectrum by being impatient, quick to complain, bitter, or otherwise, it’s time to pause and remember that your trending matters. Catch troublesome themes in your own communication, and save everyone the grief.
Speak in love, give life
This list is just a quick reminder to our readers that communication matters. Most of what I’ve covered is common knowledge; but reminders are always helpful.
Keep a watchful eye on your words, tone, timing, and trending when speaking to each other. Don’t let laziness in this area rob you of the life-giving power your words can have in your marriage.