Over the summer my husband came to me with a desire in his heart to go on a mission trip. When he first presented the idea, I immediately panicked. My fear was not a result of him going on a trip around the world, but from the fact that I felt like my life was going to be completely out of my control while he was gone. The funny thing is that much of our lives is already out of our control. So, here comes the “God” lesson. I would be left with our 4 kids to care for by myself for 14 days. And before you begin to feel sorry for me, I want you to keep reading. My husband and I hashed out whether he should go or stay (actually it was more of me hashing, his mind was made up!) He was going and I was going to have to figure out how to communicate to him how I was feeling about the trip, in a way that did not lead him to be defensive or resistant to hear my heart.
This was not my first rodeo in having strong feelings that were the opposite of my husband’s desires. But over the course of our marriage God has taught me how to position my heart on matters in my marriage that only he can give me proper insight on. Over the last several months God really started working on my heart and refining my attitude towards my husband and his big trip.
Now, I would like to share with you 5 of my best tips for cultivating healthy and effective communication in your marriage.
1. Start with prayer!
One of the biggest things I’ve learned (through trial and error) is the importance of praying before I have a BIG conversation with my husband. Although we are one, we still have different thoughts and ideas in terms of how things should be done.
If I just go to him before God has the opportunity to prepare his heart it can result in hurt feelings, me over explaining myself, arguing and a host of other things that are not productive in marriage.
There is power in God preparing your partner's heart for what you have on your heart. So go to God for guidance in how you should address your spouse.
2. Timing is everything
This is something you have to be strategic about. I never approach my husband with “we need to talk.” I’ve learned that timing is crucial to effective communication in all relationships. I always check to hear how my husband is doing before I lay big news on him. If he is distracted or doing something fun, I know that it’s not a good time to tell him big news.
So, create time and space in your marriage to check in regularly with each other. Also remember your tone is half the battle in communication. When we speak from a place of love our spouse is usually much more willing to hear our hearts - so be pleasant in your delivery!
Most things we want to put a timeline on, but do we really need to? Don’t allow fear to make you say something you may later regret.
3. Remember you're on the same team
When you approach from a place of believing "we are in this together" you are less likely to come at your spouse on the defense! Remember the end goal is for you to both have peace. It may take a little work to come to an agreement here, but it is possible. Ps: I’m going to share more about what God shared with me about the mission trip at the end of this post.
4. Always have a servant's heart
When we look for ways to be selfless instead of selfish it speaks volumes to those we are in relationship with. Now, I’m not suggesting here that we be doormats in our relationships. It’s definitely important to have boundaries that you stand by. But, whenever I put my husband’s needs before my own I not only see God meet my needs, but I see my husband’s heart towards me manifest through the gifts of the spirit (Galatians 5:22).
5. Remember God's perspective on marriage
Since marriage was God’s design, we know that it must be his desire for our marriages to be life-giving. When we shift our perspective to figure out ways to speak and pour life into our marriages, we are much better for it. When you are in a place of struggle in your communication remember God’s promises and remember that he has a purpose for you and your spouse. Don’t allow the enemy to tell you lies - keep your thoughts full of God’s truth.
So, back to the mission’s trip. Right now my husband is in Uganda. God began to speak to my heart and show me that I could let go of my tight grip and trust him for my provision, covering, and protection in my husband’s absence. While my husband is gone, God is strengthening me. He is teaching me how to have more patience with my kids and more tolerance for the unknown. I’m learning how to wait with an expectant heart for his creative blessings and miracles.
Will you and your spouse partner with God today for a kingdom marriage?
He wants you healthy and whole and he has a plan for you. I would love to stand in agreement and pray for strong communication in your marriage. Feel free to leave a comment if you would like me to pray for you!
[bctt tweet="Check out these great tips for communicating effectively in marriage!" username="EntriceRowe"]