In part one of this three-part series, uncover six steps to having meaningful communication with your spouse.
Twelve years into our marriage, we contemplated walking away. Everything had become stagnant and lonely. At that point it was easy to point fingers of blame towards one another and not look at the solutions. Once anger had been expressed and the reality of divorce had set in, we began to ask ourselves, “What got us to this place?”
The answer… a lack of good communication. It seemed all our issues started and ended with a lack of talking. So, we dug our heels in and began a journey of learning to communicate deeply and honestly.
In our book, “Communication…the Missing Piece”, we walk you through the process of learning to prioritize, listen well and connect to one another at a much deeper level. These six steps lead marriages into the deep emotional connection that we all long for when we marry.
Step 1: Go Deeper than Small Talk
Begin with simply recognizing that the depth of the majority of our communication is simply SMALL TALK. It requires little time and effort and naturally that is all we tend to have time to do. The day-to-day requirements of life and children steal our time and desire to do anything more. The problem is, it will not sustain our marriage over time. It is like buying a plant and never taking time to water it, simply throwing in a few drops of water occasionally.
So why do we tend to neglect the things that we desire the most? Let’s just be totally honest. A lack of communication stems from three things:
First of all, Busyness! We busy ourselves to the point that the ones we love the most are the ones we neglect the most. Our lives get so filled up with GOOD things but to the neglect of GREAT things. Some of us don’t know how to say “No” or how to manage our time wisely. What if you change your mindset on doing the things that are really important to you and prioritize those? Personally, I want my family to feel they are the most important people in my life. My actions need to follow that by spending quality time with them.
Secondly, a big stealer of our time is technology. Sadly, our world is constantly destroying our relationships by keeping our eyes and minds focused on devices. So much of one’s worth and value comes from those we love looking at us eye to eye and giving us their undivided attention. Don’t make your spouse compete with your phone, computer or TV. Stop and give those you love all of you!
Lastly, we tend to stay at the level of small talk because all the above has made us become apathetic with life. When our hearts get hard and cold, we do the least amount possible in our relationships. We avoid any conversations and usually give one-word answers. Does any of this ring a bell in your heart?
We know that small talk and exchanging facts will not keep us connected in our marriage, however, our communication is going to need a bit of groundwork before we feel comfortable and safe to share our hearts.
Step 2: Learn to value your spouse
In most marriages, one spouse is normally more opinionated than the other. The attraction in the beginning makes it work, but over time it slowly strips the other of feeling any worth. This feeling will inevitably shut down any deeper conversations. This step is when you begin to see that our differences can be our greatest asset. Two different people with two different opinions can make the two of you better rather than bitter. The choice is to compliment the other’s thoughts and ask each other their opinion on certain topics and decisions. When you begin to work together, not against each other, you are opening the door to deeper, richer communication.
Steve & Debbie Wilson
Steve and Debbie Wilson are the founders of Marriage Matters Now, a non-profit marriage ministry that has reached couples for over 25 years. Their 43 years of marriage coupled with passion and a heart to see marriages healed and healthy has driven this ministry all over the nation as they speak at numerous conferences, have spent hours counseling couples, and have written two books.