January 20, 2010

Communicating with Your Husband

The stress alone of managing a household as a wife and mother of three can bring someone to their knees. Now add these ingredients to the pot: full time employment, a part time freelancing career, weekend continuing education trainings, volunteering, mommy dearest and occasionally your 22 year old brother as new roommates and a lazy husband. Sprinkle in a few shakes of this and that...and it equals the true definition of OMG.

Sometimes it gets the best of me and I become bitter and angry for really no reason at all--but for every single reason in the world. Does that make sense? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...my husband was target this time. I came across this article on http://www.marriageromance.com/ that was such an eye opener that I had to share it. I hope it speaks to your spirit as it did mine.

Communicating with your Husband Gods way
By Martha Matthews

A marriage can only be as good as the communication between the husband and wife.

Good communication is vital to a healthy marriage. As wives, we desire to have a close relationship with our husband, but, unfortunately, we can sabotage it by what we say and how we say it. In this month's article, we will discuss the most common mistakes that women make in their communication and examples of how to implement godly communication.

Communication breakers:

1. Defensiveness
Defensiveness seems to be the hardest thing for a woman to see in herself. It comes from an attitude that says "My way is the best way." We don't listen to what our husband has to say. Instead, we formulate our response while he is speaking. When he is finished, we defend our position instead of taking to heart what he has said. This type of behavior exposes our pride and arrogance. Proverbs 18:2 says "A fool finds no pleasure understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."

2. Beating around the bush
Hint, hint, hint. "He should know how he hurt me. It's obvious!" We expect our mate to figure out what it is that has us upset instead of being venerable and sharing how we are hurt. This type of behavior is a form of control and manipulation born out of our attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt further. "He doesn't care about me!" We therefore feel justified in making him miserable as we play this guessing game to make him prove he really does care. Ephesians 4:15 says, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." We will become more mature and be closer with our spouse if we practice speaking the truth in love.

3. Complaining.
There are so many ways that this behavior manifests itself. The two that seem to be the most popular are a critical attitude and nagging. The critical woman is always critiquing what her husband does. She is never satisfied. The nagging wife thinks that the only way to get her husband to do what she wants is to badger him until he does it. Both women are never happy with what their husband does or says. It makes them wonder why they married their husbands in the first place. There are the cutting remarks, the sarcasm, the mockery, the name calling and in some cases cursing. When confronted, the offense is neatly presented as "I'm just expressing how I feel." The woman with a complaining spirit will eventually find that she has pushed her husband away; possibly into the arms of another woman. Philippians 2: 14-15 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe". Proverbs 21:9 says, "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife". Proverbs 12: 18-19 says, "Reckless words pierce like an arrow, but the tongue of the wise brings healing".

4. Stuffing
He says something that hurts your feelings and then, because he's done the same thing a thousand times before, without any regard for how it makes you feel, you decide to give up and harden your heart. "He doesn't care so why should I even bother talking to him about it". We bury the hurt and it festers inside us. Eventually it has to come out and when it does, look out. Mount Vesuvius has nothing on you! "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold". Ephesians 4: 26-27.

5. Lying
If you want a close relationship with your husband it has to be built on the foundation of truth. Even the small lie that we tell to cover up our inadequacies causes a rift in our marriage. Whether it is a big lie or a little lie, when the lie is discovered; it leaves our husbands wondering who we really are. It hurts deeply when your spouse is not truthful with you. Lying erodes, and eventually destroys, our husband's trust in us. Proverbs 26:28. "A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin."

Communication builders:

1. Prayer
Great communication begins with our relationship with God. No one can help your marriage change if you are not willing to take your needs to the Lord. No advice, no marriage book, no counselor, and no self-help book can change your marriage if you don't pray. Begin by praying every day for God to give you both the wisdom to understand each other better and to communicate in a way that is pleasing to Him. Pray together if your husband is willing. When you pray together, you both get a chance to hear what is on the other's heart; what they are struggling with, what they are thankful for and what their hopes and dreams are. There is no better way to get close to your spouse than to pray together.

1 Thessalonians 5:16. "Be joyful always, pray continually."

2. Showing Respect
Ephesians 5: 33b says, "and the wife must respect her husband." That doesn't mean that you respect him only if he respects you first. That means that you respect your husband in thought (the heart), word (your speech) and deed (your actions).

How you say something, your tone, speaks volumes about what is really in your heart. You'd be surprised at what you communicate with your voice inflection. If you are angry, bitter, or frustrated, it is bound to come through in your tone of voice. If you are not sure how you sound, try this experiment. Put a tape recorder in a room where you and your husband converse most often and forget it is on. Then play it back to see how you sound. It can be a real eye opener.

Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones".

The words you say can also damage your relationship. It can be the little things you say to your husband on a daily basis or that one big blow up that causes deep hurt and regret. If you are prone to saying things in anger, know this, it only takes a moment to say something you will regret for the rest of your life. Take a moment to go into another room and pray. Pray for patience, restraint, compassion and a gentle spirit. Proverbs 13:3 says, "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 25:11. "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."
Listen to what your husband says; listen to hear. The longer we are married the less we seem to listen to really hear and understand what our spouse has to say. Don't let the kids, the television or your housework distract you. Focus on him when he is talking. Get clarification. Repeat back to him what you understood him to say.

3. Timing
Timing is another essential component to communication. Here are some things to avoid. Don't try to discuss something with your husband right before being romantic, or as he's going to work or coming home from work. You'd be surprised at how many women try to do this. Also, be considerate about when you choose to discuss important matters with your husband. If you want your husband's undivided attention, don't do it when he's watching his favorite program. Choose the time to convey your message wisely.
4. Building him up.
Practice complimenting your husband. Even if he says it doesn't matter, let him how great he looks. Compliment him as he goes out the door to work and when he gets dressed up to go on a date with you. You appreciate it when he tells you that you look nice, so does he; even if he doesn't admit it.

Practice verbal appreciation. Men were designed by God to take care of their families. Make sure you let him know often that you appreciate how hard he works and how he looks after the affairs of the family. Thank him for the everyday things he does. Don't take him for granted.

Ephesians 4:29. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

The way in which you communicate can make or break your relationship. If you don't put an effort forth to communicate in a godly way with your husband, you will be distant from each other. As the Bible teaches us, we reap what we sow. What are you sewing in your communication?