Monday, February 2, 2015

To Communicate or Not? That is the Question.



Over and over and over, the main complaint I hear in regards to a law enforcement marriage (or any marriage) is a lack of communication. 

It seems as if somehow once we marry, our speaking skills go the way of the Neanderthal and we resort to glances and nods in the kitchen, quick checklists and honey do's, or teen lingo - those short, sometimes snarky and often interrupted thought processes that sound more like code than real adult, well thought out conversation.

For example:

Me:  Hey.  Did you think to go by the post office?  (I say this as I'm scrolling through Facebook without even looking up)

Him: Yep.

Me: (Looking up over my glasses with attitude all over my face) And.... 

Him:  Nothing.

End of conversation.

Definitely not a good way to say, "Hey babe! I'm so glad to see you.  Welcome home!"


So, what are the ways we communicate?

What does the Bible say about these things?

How can we do better? 

I'm glad you asked!  Let's take a look below.


Verbal

Most of our communication is verbal.  According to Louann Brizendine at the University of California, women speak around 20,000 words a day, compared to men's 7,000.  That means we start off unequally balanced, so both husband and wife must get creative in the way he or she communicates, finding ways that speak directly to their spouse's heart.

God tells us in Proverbs 15:1 that a gentle gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that we should build up with our words instead of tearing down.

Proverbs 25:11 shows us that timely words...choice words, are like apples of gold in settings of silver. 

Our words matter, and not only the words themselves, but how they are spoken.  A raised voice, disrespectful tone or careless quip can not only shut down the communication, but can throw water on the fire altogether.  

Choose your words carefully.

Nonverbal

The ability to use nonverbal communication, i.e. facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice, can be a powerful tool used to help effectively communicate with our spouse, but it can also create more problems if not used in the proper way.  

Matthew 7:12 reminds us that in everything, we are to do to others what we would have them do to us.  

I doubt if I would appreciate a roll of the eyes or a jerk of the head in condescending manner, therefore, I need to treat my spouse the way I would want to be treated.

Matthew 5:16 talks about allowing others to see the light (God) within us, that they may glorify Him.  

When we are living for the Lord, His ways are going to shine through.  Oh, there will be times when we mess up or sin, but a pattern of goodness and loving actions should prevail.  


The ways in which we act or react towards our spouse reveal the love and respect we have for them, but also can illuminate the hurt and resentment we may be harboring.  Make sure you give these things to God daily so that what comes out is an outflow of God's love and a blessing for your marriage.

Visual

What we see within our home...within our marriage...within our spouse can have a profound effect on the way we relate back to them.

In Proverbs 31:10-31, we are given many ways this wife blessed her husband and household visually.  Not only was her character one that was worthy of praise, but she created a beautiful atmosphere at home by things she made for them, items she produced, taking care of her appearance, and ways she displayed her love. 

How are you visually blessing your spouse today?   Get creative and find ways to communicate in ways you've never thought of before.  

Written

It is said that “The written word is all that stands between memory and oblivion. Without books as our anchors, we are cast adrift, neither teaching nor learning. They are windows on the past, mirrors on the present, and prisms reflected all possible futures. Books are lighthouses erected on the dark sea of time.” - Greg Weisman

If books are so important in keeping memories in tact and history anchored, then how much more important are our words of love and appreciation to our spouse and children?

I can rummage through most drawers or baskets in my house, and find a handwritten "I love you" note from my husband, or a card that he has sent over the years.  I keep them all.  Why?  Because it is a good reminder of his love for me at that moment in time.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 urges us to encourage one another and build each other up.  That can be done by a simple written note, lipstick message on the bathroom mirror or text that simply says, "I love you."  This my friend, is a great encouragement to your spouse when he or she receives it.


With these communication factors in mind, I hope you will seek out some new and creative ways to express your love and appreciation to your spouse today and every day from here after.  

Marriage can be quite challenging at times, but regular loving communication can break down even the toughest of walls.

So what are you waiting for?  Let's get communicating!

Kristi
 
 
 

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