In real estate the one word that is heard most is location, location, location! The reason is the better the location of the property, the better chance it has to sell, which is the primary goal. Well in marriage, the one word you must remember is communication, communication, communication! The reason is the better the communication; the better chance your marriage has to succeed, which is the primary goal. Communication is not just about talking, but about listening and really hearing what your spouse is saying. Take your spouse’s feelings seriously, don’t just toss them aside like a magazine you’ve just read. If you don’t listen effectively and take action, the foundation of your marriage may start to show some cracks.
Assumptions cannot be made in marriage. Don’t assume your spouse knows what you want and how you feel. One thing that should be learned early in marriage is the ability to relate your feelings to your spouse. If your husband or wife does not know that a particular habit gets on your nerves, don’t blow up at them for the repeated offense. You have to inform them, no one can read minds. Share your feelings with your spouse in a loving way. Be sure to avoid starting the conversation with “you” and use “I” when sharing. Try starting with the phrase “I feel __________, when you ______.” That way the conversation doesn’t have an accusatory tone and your spouse does not shut down and immediately become defensive. A good time to share your feelings is when the behavior happens. Be calm if possible and be sure to think before you speak. Also, if you feel your spouse is not doing something you would like, you can also start by saying “I would love it if you would__________.” Be reasonable with your requests; don’t ask for anything that could be detrimental to your marriage.
After you share your feelings with your spouse, leave it alone. The decision to stop or start a behavior is up to your spouse. Some time may pass before you see a change; sometimes you may not see a change at all. My suggestion is to pray. Prayer changes people, people don’t change people. Be mindful that when you pray, God may start to change you first. Adjustments on both parts may be necessary in certain situations. Do not worry; this is a good thing, better yet, a God thing. He called you together; He knows how to keep you together. Storms may come in your marriage, but take comfort in Matthew 7:25-The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
BMWK — Are you communicating effectively?