The importance of developing great communication skills before marriage

The old saying goes ‘children should be seen and not heard’. Though we say that spouses should be seen, heard and heard one more time for clarity!

Clarity within communication is not a skill simply reserved for marriage, but it is a skill for life, one that is essential for us to master before marriage. “Effective communication is critical to successful relationships” – and here at KC Community, we’re all about your relationships being successful both inside and outside of marriage. So in this blog, we’d like to give you some helpful insights we’ve come across on mastering the Art of Communication.

The importance of conversation

Why is your conversation important? Because words are powerful! With words, the earth was formed (Psalm 33:9), and one of God’s main methods of speaking to His people is through the Bible’s words. Also, when words are spoken by others or ourselves, they form images within our minds and make us believe what we hear. One thing we must note is that the enemy makes us underestimate the value of our own words. Your words can communicate commitment, trust and intimacy between you and another. Though if they aren’t stewarded correctly, can also be used to manipulate others. In the garden of Eden, it was manipulation of communication that came in between Adam and Eve and caused their fundamental issues. The same occurs today in relationships, so our communication must be developed to ensure that you are always on the same page with your partner.

 

The power of silence

Unproductive silence

Silence isn’t always golden and can, indeed, empower negative emotion. For example, in Psalm 39, David said “ ‘I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.’ So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased…”. We’d like to highlight this point for our male brothers in particular. Our gentle exhortation is that, as men, it is a necessary task for you to learn the art of communication! Not simply for the woman’s benefit, but for yourselves (if you simply feel you don’t have anything to say, see our ‘do’s and don’ts’ tips below to improve your conversations). However Psalm 39:1-2 shows that silence when you wish to speak increases your anguish.

1 Peter 3:7 exhorts husbands to honour their wives so their prayers may not be hindered! Do you honour your wife or potential future wife with your speech? Do you bottle things up then blurt out responses, or do you consider what to say carefully?  Even more than this, the original term for honour here refers to a price, or value. So we ask our readers, married or single & preparing: how could you communicate with your wife in a way that demonstrates that she is, forever, valued?

Productive silence

A marriage website we read stated this, “communication is less about how much you talk, and more about what you have to say when you do.” [1]
Proverbs 10:19 may be a good proverb for the ladies like myself to note. It says, “when there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” This is also known as, not everything needs to be said. The Bible encourages us to manage our thoughts, taking each one captive and submitting it to the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Ladies, please also note that this man; though he is your husband, is also merely human, and there are some things that are better discussed with God than him. (If you struggle, we’d submit to you a challenge for the week! This is, before you approach your spouse, or anyone really, with an issue, make a point this week to go to God first about it, we look forward to hearing your results in the comments!).

We’ve reviewed a few key aspects of the Art of Communication, and now we’d like to present you with some helpful tips that we believe could benefit your spousal, or other relationships as you continue to communicate with others:

 

TOP TIPS

Do’s

  • Do be an attentive listener – using bridge phrases and words such as “And then what happened?”; “How did that make you feel?”; “Oh no!”; “What are you going to do now?”; “How can I help?” let’s the person know that you are present with them and truly care.
  • Do calm down when speaking – do not let your emotions charge you into spewing out hateful words that could damage the marital friendship.
  • Do raise complaints and issues non-defensively – This means speaking gently, using a soft tone and using complaint statements that start with “I feel…” rather than “You are, you don’t…” etc. The encouragement is to take responsibility for our emotions and do not put the onus on the other person.
  • Do be a keen learner – learn about your spouse seeking to understand them and how they communicate.

Don’ts

  • Don’t be critical –  e.g., “If only you helped out sometimes, maybe I wouldn’t need to…” – attacking your significant other’s personality or character with accusation and blame is sure poison for your relationship.
  • Don’t be aggressive – speaking angrily to your spouse is not acceptable. However, be careful to not bury your anger as it may devolve into passive aggression; which, as you may guess, is still aggression! Speaking curtly or sarcastically are prime examples of passive aggression. Remember that, if you have a heart of contempt toward someone, all you need is a bit of pain or pressure and that heart-set will reveal itself physically. This comes across through our speech more often than we might realise.
  • Don’t cease communication – Giving someone “the silent treatment”, or only speaking with them about the “need to know” items in your day can make our hearts grow cold to the other person. Though spouses may need some time within the day to cool off, the Bible exhorts us to “not let the sun go down on our anger” (Ephesians 4:26).

 We’d like to encourage our readers that, if you are battling with any of the above currently, please speak about this with a mature believer or trusted counsellor.

We hope the above insights and tips help you and others master the Art of Communication!

– KC Blogs team

 

Relevant (and great!) links we used:

  1. Marry Someone Who: Knows How To Communicate – http://truelovedates.com/marry-someone-who-knows-how-to-communicate/
  2. 9 Important Communication Skills for Every Relationship – http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1277