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Communicating better with your spouse – Part 1

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One of the greatest, but often ignored challenges marriages face is incessant arguments and quarrels borne out of either a breakdown in communication or the inability to communicate effectively. The marriage that was once sweet, full of courtesy and understanding suddenly becomes a battlefield of words and sometimes of fists.

Truth be told, communication doesn’t come naturally to anyone. Every child that’s borne into this world learns how to communicate, which simply tells us that communication is a skill we learn, if we’re to maximise the potentialities God has given us. Therefore, unless couples learn and work at maintaining good communication, the tendency to be at loggerheads with each other is always there. Another important thing is that the way people express themselves changes over time, and one must be abreast of whatever changes are happening around him/her.

What is Communication? Simply put, it involves “sending a message to someone else in such a way that the receiver understands what you’re trying to say.” In other words, communication isn’t complete until the other person understands what you’re saying. In many cases, people misunderstand us because we exhibit poor communication skills.

Factors that hinder good communication:
Assumptions: One thing very common among couples, especially if they’ve been married for years, is that they assume they know what the other person wants to say. You hear things like, “I know what he/she wants to say” and thereby they shut down the other person. Don’t assume that you know what your spouse will say; after all, he/she isn’t a robot. Allow the other person to air his/her views.

Prejudices: Closely associated with assumptions are the prejudices built overtime against each other. Some couples believe they know their spouse so well that they can predict all their actions at all times. You will do well to know that you can never know your spouse enough. Don’t go around with the mindset of “my wife never listens to me” or “my husband is stubborn.” Only God knows him/her absolutely.

Bitterness/Resentment: When issues between couples aren’t dealt with, there can be bitterness and resentment, which can affect communication. One spouse suddenly withdraws and stops talking because there is a hurt that has not been healed. No matter what you’re trying to say until that issue is sorted out, you’re on your own.

Negative body language: Our body language either enhances or hinders good communication. When your spouse is talking to you, ensure you maintain eye contact and give him/her all your attention. You should never say you don’t have time to listen or discuss with your spouse, especially if it is the woman who wants to talk. I have discovered most women just want their husbands to listen to them.

Chauvinism: There are some men who believe that a woman has nothing good to contribute and at the end of the day, they regret blocking their wives out of their decisions. One gift many women have is the gift of intuition. They may not be able to explain, but they know when something terrible is about to happen. Men, please listen to your wives. You don’t have to do everything she says, but their advice can save you from costly mistakes. I am sure Pontius Pilate who crucified Jesus is regretting not listening to his wife! More next time

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