Last week I said that communication was the means by which a husband and a wife connect and strengthen their union. This time, I would like to give you a couple of tools that will dramatically impact your communication and forever change your marriage.
The wisdom for what I am about to talk about comes from an application of James 1:9, which says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” When it says that we are to be quick to listen, it is talking about being being eager to listen, and wanting to listen. And when we want to listen, we ask questions, and when we ask questions, we end up communicating in a powerful way. However, the questions we ask, need to go beyond, “How was your day?” Not a bad question, just not the kind that leads to great communication. The kind of questions we need to ask have to do with the big areas of life we need to be talking about, like: God, finances, kids, work, sex, conflict, etc. These are the subject matters upon which marriages rise or fall.
So ask questions like, “Honey, how do you think I can lead the family better spiritually?” Or “How do you think we are doing financially? Do think there is anything we need to change?” Or, “Is there any way I can serve you better?” Or “How do you think we are doing with the kids? What are some issues we need to address?” Or there could also be a host of questions in regard to sexual intimacy that you can ask.
The great thing about asking questions like this, and being quick to listen and slow to speak, is that it conveys humility, and it opens up the other person to want to ask you the same kind of question. I guarantee you, if you ask questions like this that open yourself up to the other person, and get at real issues like this, you will see miracles happen in your marriage.
However, before this will ever take place, there is one more area that we need to take care of before we will have healthy communication. And that is the need for a scheduled routine. If you don’t set apart scheduled time to talk with your spouse, then the urgency of life will take over. Believe me, if you are running from dinner, to clean up, to baths, to homework, to a little TV or Facebook, and then to bed, you will say, “I have no time to sit and talk. I am maxed!” And on the face of it, it is true. However, if you know, on your calendar, that you have an appointment with your spouse to sit down and communicate like this, you will plan around it, and it will happen.
What most couples do is try to grab time in the midst of already occurring events. Typically, while the husband is watching his favorite program, the wife says, “Honey, can we talk?” And the husband either says, “Not right now, I am in the middle of the show.” Or “How about later?” Or “Sure.” But then he never listens because one eye and both ears are on the TV.” In that scenario, the attempt to “talk” ends up being a total disaster. And then you say to yourself, “I try to communicate, but it just doesn’t happen.”
I can’t think of a better thing a couple can do than to have time set aside to communicate about the big issues of life. For this reason you NEED to have at least one time and place each week where you communicate around the big issues of life. And this I would guard religiously as well. You need time and uninterrupted space where you can ask the questions of one another and be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. And I would not let today pass without figuring out when that is going to be. And I promise you, if you make this commitment, and it works in your schedules, you will be amazed at what happens to your marriage.
Have you tried these questions or a communication schedule in your marriage? What have you learned?