If you are truly being intentional about your courtship or relationship, you know that communication is the lifeline of your union.
How you communicate affects real things that occur in your everyday life like, what you decide to have/make for dinner or if your home has a negative tone or a positive one.
It is clear that communication is important and vital, yet, we suck at it.
There are many different kinds of communication and influences, flaws and details that could be addressed when dealing with this topic so we have decided to focus on some major keys that we have learned while courting and being married that will help you grow in your communication skills quicker than we did.
All in all, the goal is to have peace in your relationship. Communicating effectively will meet the major needs that you have in a relationship and foster a joyful and pleasing union. When a wife or a future wife learns how to communicate effectively, it will be translated as respect and honor to her husband, which is a major need that all men need met. When a husband or a future husband can communicate effectively with his wife, she will experience safety and peace of mind which are major needs that women possess.
Our first key is to take note of and be intentional about the timing of your conversations.
It is wise to care for your partner by protecting their peace concerning important conversations.
Try to refrain from having serious or heavy conversations when you know that your partner is already feeling stressed and heavy. Not only can it harm their peace, it will also make a hard conversation even harder to have and even spiral into an argument. Instead, if you can, plan out heavy conversations. Let your partner know what topic you would like to discuss and agree on a time to discuss it. They will have time to ponder on key points they would like to discuss and prepare themselves to take on a heavy conversation with you. In turn, you are more likely to conduct and healthy and productive conversation.
Try to correct and address issues in private. Do not be impulsive and call your partner out in front of other people. You two are united on the same team. You shouldn’t air your partner's weaknesses to the general public simply because it is hurtful and embarrassing. Protect their heart by timing your critique and correct to a more private time.
The second tip to communicating successfully in a relationship is to consistently check in on your partners likes and dislikes of the relationship.
Be intentional and open to receiving and giving positive and negative feedback concerning your union.
When doing this, try to refrain from overly complaining and nagging about every little thing as this can be counterproductive and when receiving the feedback, try to refrain from feeling like you have to fix everything in that moment. The heart of this key is to find the beauty in hearing and understanding your partner's experience while dating/being married to you.
Be open and honest with this, and for those who feel as though this is impossible, our next key is for you.
Let them say exactly how they feel
Key number three is to let your partner express good and bad feelings without getting upset and negating/invalidating them.
You have to be able to trust your partner enough to not be offended by them.
Adapting this concept was a game changer during our courtship.
Trust that they love you the most and will cover and care for you if this is the truth.
While courting, we fought the most because we were trying to defend our image and character to each other instead of listening and understanding each other’s hearts. This then led us to a toxic habit of hiding our feelings or withholding the whole truth about situations in order to avoid conflict. This is not healthy. The space between you two should be a safe place where you can be totally emotionally naked in front of each other without fear of being hurt.
When you ask your partner “ what’s wrong?”, be prepared to hear that something you did, said, didn't do, or didn't say is the source of the change in their attitude. Listen with empathy, imagine how they must feel whether you agree or not. Validate how they feel and acknowledge that you are human and made a mistake. Give it to God and move forward.
Hear them. Be willing to hear your partner always.
James 1:19 My dear brother and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen , slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.
Become able to see the worst in yourself because as the other person is expressing what they like and what they don’t like in the relationship, it’s going to be about you and you have to be mature enough to accept it and try to work on it rather than getting defensive and arguing about it. This person is spending a lot of time with you and will see things that not everyone will see and point out.
Be honest in communication.
Truly express what you are currently experiencing with the other person. Not doing so, closes your release valve and keeps your significant other from understanding and helping. If you are married or are planning to be married, this person you are on this journey with is the closest person you will have. Do not hold back from them and no not believe the lie that you should lie to them or hold back who you are to protect them. If they are who God designed for you to be with, they are graced for all of your good and your bad. Be open enough to work through anything and everything together.
Watch your mouth
The fourth key is to avoid being destructive in your speech.
Yes, even in your anger and in the heat of the moment, never speak to your partner in a way that is disrespectful.
When you are the maddest that you can be because of your partner, you should still have a boundary in your heart that says, " I will not hurt my partner" because love should overtake all of those emotions.
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.
Do not call your partner out of their name
Do not speak down to them as if they are less of a human than you are
Do not curse at your partner
Control your tone
When you are angry or full of strong emotion, it is best to breathe and remove yourself from the situation in order to cool down. Whether that is walking in to another room, praying, counting and breathing etc. These efforts are to avoid cutting your partner with your words. Ultimately, the goal is to heal and grow when we communicate, so if you are in a mood where your words cannot bring healing, you should not speak.
Proverbs 12:18 There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
When Cameron and I were dating, we established boundaries that we would never cross when communicating with each other. We decided that we would not call each other out of our names and that we would not try to hurt each other with our words by taking low blows or bringing up hurtful things. With strength from God, we have been married for two years and have remained true to those decisions. We rarely even yell at each other but this is mainly because we both have extremely docile personalities.
If you are having issues with communication in your relationship, you are not alone. You are no the first one to have these issues and you will not be the last. You can grow from here with the help of the Holy Spirit and by committing your self to it. Remember that you and your partner will change and evolve and the way that you communicate or receive communication will change. So you will need to constantly update yourself on how to communicate with your partner and vice versa. It is hard work... not going to lie. But, it is work that will bring forth a beautiful harvest!
Here are some extra scriptures that relate to this topic:
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person
Proverbs 18:13 The one who gives an answer before he listens - this is foolishness and disgrace for him.
Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent.