A few days ago, I wrote about external and internal crises in marriage. I referenced a quote I heard once:
In life you’re either coming out of a crisis, in a crisis, or heading into one.
With this in mind, there are ways we can prepare and maybe even avert some crises in our marriages.
I’ve been married for thirteen. I’ve been a pastor for twelve years. Keelie and I have been marriage bloggers for about two years. Ok, mostly Keelie, but I’ve been along for the ride! Here’s what I’ve learned – the number one thing, the big secret, the master key. Are you ready?
Communicate, Communicate, COMMUNICATE!
Too many marriages hit internal crisis because of a lack of communication. For some, these crises spell the end. For others, they result in a life of unfulfilling or even miserable marriage. Either way, poor communication brings disaster to any relationship.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “We talk all the time!” Yeah, but do you communicate? There’s a difference.
Think of it this way – You have this great song you want to share with your friend, so you give them a CD with the song on it. Remember CD’s? Your friend is glad you’re sharing with them, but only owns a record player.
You know what you’re giving your friend. The CD has the song on it. But your friend will never hear it. “But but but, they’re both round and spin in a device to make sounds come out!” Right, but the one device can’t decode the other devices recording. They don’t communicate the same way. They come from different times. They’re based on different principles. They were designed by different people.
It’s time for both of you to get smartphones and start Facebook messaging some Spotify links!
In marriage, like all relationships, one of you is a record player and the other is a CD player. Maybe you come from different times. Maybe you have different priorities. Maybe you were raised differently. You have to do more than just talk. It’s time to upgrade your communication.
Be intentional about our communication.
Talk, yes. But think about how you talk. What does your wife say when she’s mad? What does your husband do when he feels rejected? Communication happens in our words, our actions, our body language, and more! Take note of these things, and discuss them.
Be proactive in your communication.
Instead of assuming that you both understand each other, ask questions. Have you ever told your spouse what you meant when you said that one thing? Try it sometime, you might be surprised what they thought you meant.
Communicate your expectations, hurts, forgiveness, etc. Did your last date not go as you hoped it would? Tell your spouse! Did something they said wound you seriously? Say so! Don’t leave things unsaid.
Communication and Crisis
In the midst of crisis, it is essential to properly communicate. When there’s already conflict, tension, and hurt, the confusion of miscommunication only makes things worse. It can prolong and even worsen whatever problem is affecting the marriage.
The good news is that proper communication in marriage can help protect us from internal crisis. Many crises are the result of poor communication. Being intentional and proactive can stave off massive conflicts and ongoing bitterness that can erupt into marriage-threatening situations. It can keep unmet expectations from piling up. It can keep hurts from going unaddressed.
We can’t prevent all crises from coming. But we can help guard against the ones caused by poor habits of communicating with our spouses. Next time we’ll look at how we can invest in our marriage to strengthen it against crises.