Challenges, Commitment, Communication, For Men, For Women

5 Indispensable Habits for Rock-Solid Communication

There’s such security knowing that we’re both in this marriage thing for the long haul. Selena and I are far from perfect…FAR. In fact, we’ve had two significant arguments in the past 15 hours, and that includes 7-8 hours of sleep, hanging out with friends for 3 hours, and about 2 hours of work. That leaves about 2-3 hours where we’ve been alone together and we argued (significantly) twice. Twice! That’s around 1 per hour. I’m both ashamed and impressed…

I wouldn’t say we’re argumentative people. We love to laugh and joke with each other…a lot! And we love having fun, being spontaneous, and connecting emotionally.

But lately a perfect storm of stress, sniffles, and circumstance has heightened tensions around the ‘ol Frederick household. But…even amidst our irritableness, there’s a strange, deep joy that appears when we argue. It’s not necessarily happiness in those moments, but a deep joy.

Why? Because we both know that no matter what, we will always work through whatever we’re arguing about. We’re totally sold out for each other, we’ve burned the ships, and ditched all escape plans. We both know this without a doubt.

Additionally, we’ve both committed to staying present and involved. Marriage takes two and it requires that you’re both engaged emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually in fighting for your union. It’s inevitable that you will disagree when you spend your life together. But it’s important that you never stop talking and working toward unity.

Inspired by community

We love to share thought provoking and inspiring Instagram pictures. And our Instagram community is so fun to interact with! Last week I posted an image that resonated the message of this post; in fact, it’s the reason I’m writing this. The response was very positive so I thought I’d take some time to elaborate a bit more on the points I raised in the caption and trace each one back to scripture.

Here’s the Instagram image for reference (make sure to follow us on IG if you don’t already!)

5 Indispensable Habits for Rock-Solid Communication

Remember this: healthy communication is always a dialogue and never a monologue. Both sides must be actively speaking, processing, listening, and seeking understanding. Here are 5 basic but indispensable habits for rock-solid communication:

1.) Talk

Actively engage your minds in discussions and learn to articulate your own thoughts in a loving way. Most people don’t struggle with talking when they want to communicate something. But true wisdom is found when you speak what you mean in ways that give life.

Verse: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18

2.) Listen

Give each other the space and time they need to communicate by listening. Don’t interrupt, just be silent and listen.

Verse: “A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.” – Proverbs 17:27 (NLT)

3.) Seek understanding

When you listen, try to understand your spouse’s perspective. This means empathizing with them; trying to imagine how they must feel as they’re communicating. What circumstances are they facing? What could they be feeling? They’re your spouse, so it’s not a stretch to try and understand their feelings! When we seek understanding, we’re wise. When we don’t, we’re fools (ouch).

Verse: A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2

4.) Act

All the conversations in the world won’t mean anything if it never translates into tangible action. Be disciplined enough to follow up your conversations with action. Pray for grace to change behavior and underlying beliefs…just take action. Note, actions are a natural byproduct of love. Just as we don’t perform “works” to earn our salvation in Christ but good works are a natural overflow of experiencing grace, your love for your spouse should compel you to take action.

Verse: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18

5.) Rest

Remember that you’re both works in progress and you’re in this for the long haul. There is grace as God works in you, so rest and be patient…with yourself and with your spouse.

Verse: “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12

Pray through it all

If you’re struggling with constant communication issues, you’re not alone. We’ve been through many, many seasons that seemed unending where Selena and I just couldn’t seem to connect. If that’s you, we’ll write another blog post on how to break the ice, but here are a few quick ideas: get out and do something fun together, seek counsel from godly people in your life, pray hard for wisdom, and (no joke) be intimate. We’ve found that any one of those things can help unblock the lines of communication.

I hope this article has helped you. Don’t let passivity keep you from digging deep and finding agreement on the important things and working past negotiable differences. Engage, talk, listen, seek understanding, act, and of course, always rest in Jesus.

Discussion questions:
Have you experienced communication issues in your marriage? How did you work through them?

Please feel free to comment below!

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  • leticia shafer

    thank you for your post!!

  • Rick

    Thank you for sharing…Our marriage has been tough from the get go and we seem to be very opposite in almost everything.. We are commited to the long haul and divorce is not in our vocabulary. We speak different languages , and I think we both want to feel loved by each other.. We are missionaries which may sound weird , but it means that we work in stressful decisions daily.. I appreciate your honesty and look forward to learning some of your principals that will help me change and be more sensitive to her . I am a very black and white kind of person and she she loves ideas and likes to talk and discuss them all …thanks again for your post.

    • Rick, you’re welcome. And thank you for sharing. Ministry (ironically) can be one of the toughest things on your marriage. We’ve been there too…

      Always make sure to “see” each other amidst the chaos of ministry. Take time to really connect and process through daily struggles, etc. It will strengthen your marriage, and from that, your ministry will be that much more effective.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Megan

    Thank you for your post. My husband and I had a miscarriage about a month ago and it has strained every aspect of our relationship. We are still under a year of marriage and working through many kinks and figuring things out. But it is a good reminder that communication is something we WORK at, it doesn’t come naturally. And that’s ok. It’s normal. And it’s normal to have seasons that you have to work harder than others to communicate effectively.

    • Megan, so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. That is never an easy thing to walk through, but the good news is that you can walk through it together, with Christ.

      And yes, communication does take work. Especially during confusing and painful trials. Things don’t always resolve quickly, but you can work through and process them together with God’s grace.

  • This is such a wonderful article! I’ll be sharing this with many…. Thank you for being REAL, for speaking candidly on what marriage looks like day in and day out (through the good times, the bad times, the great times, and the horrible times), for giving Hope to your readers, and for helping to lead other couples towards Christ and each other. Your ministry is a blessing and I just want to thank you for your hearts and your perseverance in Fierce Marriage. I’m sure there are times you both wonder if what you’re doing is worth it, or if it’s really helping anyone… well, it is :) I know at least 2 people who look forward to your posts and i KNOW there are many MANY more that do as well.
    Hope you both have a wonderful day :) Lisa

    • Wow, thank you Lisa. We will keep writing as long as God allows! So glad our work has helped you and your husband.

  • Erica

    I am very thankful to God that I found fierce marriage right now in my marriage we are struggling because we both want to be more godly people a better example to our children to have a great burning passion for the Lord but we we get so torn down by our lack of communication skills we say hurtful things to each other we also remind each other of the hurtful names the lies that we said to each other the hurts we both want to stop all of that and it seems like the enemy has been trying so hard to keep us in this mess but I am so thankful for all this knowledge on here I will be sure to use this together with my husband to get to work we need to be in our marriage with God and with each other thank you keep up the good work marriage is such a beautiful thing

    • Leticia Shafer

      Erica- have y’all heard of the 5 Love Language book?

    • Thanks for sharing Erica!

    • Lindsey

      Erica,
      There is so much truth in what you wrote, “the enemy has been trying so hard to keep us in this mess.” The closer you draw near to God, the harder the enemy fights against you. Please keep dusting yourself off and drawing near to God, for He will fight the enemy for you and the victory with be His!

  • Lisa Roitsch

    I am so glad I found your blogs! You were referred by our marriage counselor. My hubby and I have been married 26 years. It has been filled with many ups, downs, trauma and pain. We have overcome 2 affairs, death of a child, and a 15 year stronghold of a severe porn addiction – only because of Jesus’ power have we made it this far. We refuse to give up and we are fighting daily for our marriage. We practice forgiveness, love and submitting our will to our heavenly Father’s every day, if not every moment – ha! He gets all the glory! As a result, we are seeing God restore all the broken pieces of our marriage and bringing forth incredible beauty in us and our kids! I look forward to reading more from the 2 of you. Thanks for being a powerful and encouraging voice for us all!
    Lots of love from 2 Jesus lovers down in south Texas!
    Bill and Lisa

    • Thanks for sharing, Lisa! What a testimony you have. Also, thanks for your kind words and support. :)

  • Debbie Schaefer

    I just found your blog and love what you are all about! Yes, marriage is hard, but it can also be rewarding, fulfilling and joy filled. My husband and I just celebrated 33 years this past week – we’ve had our share of arguments, tears, trials, and even a short separation. But it’s like your article said, you never give up. You “never stop talking and walking toward unity”. I like that because it’s so true – divorce can’t be an option, ever. A friend held up a picture of a triangle. At the base, on each corner, was her and her husband. God was at the top. She said that when she and her husband work on their relationship with God and move closer to Him, they become closer to each other. Thank you for your ministry and helping marriages.