So, marriage is this crazy thing God created, it’s beautiful and a little scary. It’s two people throwing their lives into a big mixing pot, it’s humbling and uplifting and fulfilling. It’s also not always sunshine and rainbows. What do you do if you don’t fit in with your spouse’s group of friends, or family? What do you do when you both handle finances differently? How do you tell your spouse your needs without coming off needy? All good questions, resolved with one simple word, communication.
This is such a large topic, novels have been written time and time again diving into it from a variety of angles; there’s no way I can encompass the entire topic in all its aspects in one short, easy-to-read blog. But here are a few little “knowledge nuggets” We’ve learned so far.
Listen to Understand, not to Reply – With this I mean acknowledge you won’t and don’t always have the answer. Sometimes listen and don’t try and fix the issue. It’s so profound to be able to say Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This person is letting their guard down; all you have to do is let them, be encouraging and understanding.
Body Language and Tone – I asked Jake what he thought he learned most about communication in marriage in the last 6 months; he said, tone and body language often are a better representation of how a person is feeling than what they are actually saying. This means in a marriage we will have to open our eyes to our spouse and educate ourselves on their body language and their tone. Always strive to learn more about your partner. You may think you know everything about this person, but like you, your spouse is always developing so there is always more to learn.
Odd but Very Real – Women, refrain from asking, “why?”. I didn’t come up with this myself. During our pre-marital classes, our Pastor asked us to watch a marriage series on RightNow Media titled For Women Only, For Men Only, For Couples Only by Shaunit Feldhahn and her husband Jeff. During the session Shaunti touched on why women shouldn’t ask their husband “Why?” Although you may simply be curious, for example; why he didn’t put the kids to bed by their bed time, often your husband will hear something more like this, can’t you do anything right? You had one simple task to put the kids to bed by their bedtime and you didn’t. So why not? That sounds a lot more aggressive. That’s what the word why does in a man’s head. Women don’t think that way, so we never would have known the negative effects or that it was even an issue. Now that we know however, try using phrases like, “How come?” or “Can you explain why you did it this way?” I’ve found this has made a large difference in how I talk to Jake and reminds me to think of how I communicate with him. It highlights to me, just how important it is to be mindful of the words you’re using and how crucial it is to always be building your spouse up, not tearing them down.
Every Women Could Tell You – Tell her she’s beautiful! We need to know we were loved and that we are valued. As much as men want to be respected, women want to be loved. As woman and as your wife, we are submitting ourselves to you and putting our futures in your hands. We are trusting that you will always have our best interest at heart, even if it’s not necessarily what you want to do. We are trusting you will provide in areas of our lives where we cannot be self-sufficient. (There are areas in men’s lives as well where they will need their wives, and need to rely on them. Wives, when your husband it out of strength and can’t fight this battle [whatever that battle may be] he will need to be able to come to you and lay his heart and struggles in your hands.) Tell us you love us, that you wouldn’t want to be without us, and that you will always do everything to the best of your ability to ensure we have a blessed life.
Last but certainly not at all least. Pray for your spouse. There is no one in the world more qualified to pray for your spouse than you. I learned that from a little daily reader Jake and I have at home based on the Fireproof movie. I have never been the best at anything. Always a jack of all trades, but praying for my husband is a responsibly God called me to do, and it’s something that can only be done in the best possible way by me. There is no one else that knows my husband the way I do, as emotionally and intimately. There is no one else he has shared his inner most insecurities with. Every time I think about how profound that is, I’m awestruck. This is a way I can bring the person I love before a forgiving and loving God in a way only I can do. *mind blown*