Communication is one of the most basic skills needed to establish and maintain any human relationship. In marriage it is especially important that a couple master this ability. Whenever you find a successful marriage, you will always find two people who have become skilled at communication. Likewise, wherever you find a failed marriage, a communication breakdown is always one of the root problems. Therefore, it is essential that you learn how to become a better communicator. Let’s look at some basic issues that hinder good communication.
1. Check your attitudes. Your attitude is critical to being an effective communicator and is the basis for what you say and do. Without the correct attitude, your words will always come out wrong. You may be totally right in all that you say, but it’s the way you say it that many times turns your mate off. Let’s look at some of the attitudes I am referring to.
Do you have an arrogant or superior attitude when you talk with your mate, communicating that you are always right and that he or she knows nothing? Do you become indignant and refuse to listen when your spouse questions your actions or motives? Have you ever thought, “Who does he think he is to ask me that?”
The Scriptures teach that this attitude of heart is very destructive to your relationships. Solomon said, “He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife…” (Proverbs 28:25). Is this attitude the cause of strife in your marital communication? If so, consider Paul’s counsel, “To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:2). Humility is the attitude of heart that keeps you from speaking evil of anyone or to anyone, and enables a gentle spirit to communicate effectively. Your home needs this attitude.
Another sinful attitude that destroys communication is deep-seated resentment or bitterness, which is like poison to your life and marriage. The Apostle Peter noticed this attitude when he spoke to Simon the sorcerer. Simon had become envious and bitter at the success of the disciples’ ministry. When Simon asked for similar abilities, Peter said to him, “…You are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23). If you have a bitter and resentful attitude, your spouse will pick this up as soon as you begin to speak. Your tone of voice reveals the poison of unforgiveness inside. Jesus said, “If you have anything against anyone, forgive him…” (Mark 11:25). A heart of forgiveness will be your only remedy for this poison.
Indifference or apathy greatly hinder progress as well. Jesus described this attitude in the parable of the marriage feast; He invited many, yet “they made light of it and went their ways…” (Matthew 22:5). This is the same attitude that many experience when their mates try to talk or spend time together. Indifference becomes apparent when you say “not now” or you simply change the subject. When you make light of your mate’s request to talk or spend time together, you are communicating to your spouse that he or she is not really that important to you. Every time you indifferently turn your husband or wife away, it will cause discouragement and a greater distance between you.
Of course, not every time is an opportune time to talk. If you have to postpone a conversation or time together, make sure you communicate your sincere interest and willingness to spend the time it takes to build the relationship. Then, be sure you are the one to initiate the next conversation over that same subject.
Can you recognize any of these attitudes in your heart? If you do, be assured that they will hinder effective communication. The Bible describes each of these attitudes as sinful and requires you to put them off.
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, visit Covenant Keepers