Marriage Enrichment – New Couples Questions
Posted: July 1st, 2014
July Couples Questions
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
“It’s stupid and embarrassing to give an answer before you listen.”Proverbs 18:13 (CEV)
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 (NIV)
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
One of the keys to a successful marriage is good communication. Making sure that your spouse knows what you’re thinking, and being sensitive to one another’s needs, will enable you to work through any problem that comes along.
It’s important to realize that everyone communicates differently. Men and women especially tend to speak, listen and process information in different ways. Sometimes our natural instincts can be counterproductive and work against us. Like most things, though, communication is a learned behavior, and everyone can learn to communicate more effectively.
Here are some basic communication guidelines to keep in mind:
- Be willing to listen when your spouse needs to talk. As with other things in marriage, you won’t always be “ready” at the same time!
- Think before you speak. Try to keep the end in mind. What are you really trying to accomplish here? How do you want this to end?
- Do NOT use silence as a “weapon” to frustrate your spouse. If you don’t feel like talking right now, let the other person know that.
- Avoid the emotional downward spiral. It’s possible to disagree on a topic without quarreling. Choose to control your response… even if you feel like screaming.
- When you’re wrong, admit it. Don’t be too proud to apologize and ask for forgiveness. And be willing to offer forgiveness as well. Don’t hold a grudge.
- Try to understand what the other person is feeling. Work to see things from your spouse’s point of view. Remember: the relationship is more important than being “right.”
- Do NOT attack the other person. Avoid name calling, blaming, threatening, and phrases like “you always” or “you never.”
- Be a “safe” person for your spouse to talk to. Don’t jump to conclusions or rush to “fix the problem.” Sometimes it’s OK to just listen as a friend.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your parent’s communication as you were growing up? Why did you choose that number?
- What were some “communication challenges” in your family?
- What is your favorite type or style of communication? How does your personality affect the way you like to communicate?
- Much of our communication with one another is “non-verbal” (tone of voice, body language, etc.). What are some non-verbal obstacles that sometimes get in the way of good communication with your spouse?
- As a general rule, women tend to share and connect with others over problems. On the other hand, men have a tendency to want to fix problems as quickly as possible. How have you dealt with this challenge as a couple?
- What is one thing each of you can focus on this month to improve the communication in your marriage?
Each month we will offer questions for couples to use in having healthy, spiritual conversations with each other. We encourage you to set aside some time – at least once a month – to discuss these questions in a friendly, supportive way. View the archived questions.