Today, I’m honored to offer one more post in my “Lessons Learned in Marriage Series”—this time on communication by guest blogger Crystal Twaddell. I hope you’ll read Crystal’s insights to find out how to navigate this challenge in marriage better. And be sure to check out her bio below, as well as supporting her with your comments, sharing and pinning! Thanks!
We sat in the counselor’s office, upset, confused and ready to give up. Weeks of faithfully attending and laying things on the table hadn’t gotten us anywhere. Both of us trying desperately to get the other one to hear our heart instead of our words, yet each session left us wondering where we’d gone wrong.
It wasn’t that our marriage was void of communication. We knew the value of talking things out and practiced it in our family and our marriage. But something wasn’t right and hadn’t been for quite some time.
Somehow, much like the old telephone game, our spoken words traveled in and through passages but inadvertently came out the other side completely ill formed … over and over again.
The days of fun banter and unlabored sharing were non-existent. There came a point where even the smallest conversations became sources of conflict, and it seemed better just not to talk or text or even joke around.
We were suffering and, as a result, our communication was suffering.
Intense changes over a five-year period had taken more of a toll on our spirits than we realized. Me trying to cling to some kind of security after his career loss and two near death traumas, and him trying to stay alive and make a new life in a new calling he never wanted and even despised.
Both of us trying to keep our emotions and our pain compartmentalized so we didn’t fall apart … but WE were falling apart.
It became clear in trying to survive, we weren’t listening to our own hearts, so how could we expect to listen and truly hear each other’s. The line between us was blocked by unprocessed pain, the connection strained, and our communication created more harm than good.
[bctt tweet=”Effective communication in marriage is much more about listening than speaking. Could it be the line is blocked for you in your marriage? Find out how to open it back up at MM! @CrystalTwaddell #messymarriage” username=””]
As weeks turned into months, and our hearts were emptied of so much residue, we learned a lot about how important listening is to effective communication in marriage, but even more how important it is to maintain the line. To remove the blockage, change out the filter and keep the line from fraying. And we learned how crucial it is for each of us to commit to this individually first.
1. Removing the listening blockage in communication often begins by sifting through layers of unprocessed emotions.
We are a product of our experiences. We’re not immune to the effects, and we can’t expect to communicate effectively in marriage apart from processing the emotions attached to these experiences.
It’s not enough for one person to do the work. We both had to commit to the process for ourselves and for each other.
[bctt tweet=”Committing to the process of healthy communication means valuing the process of self-examination. @CrystalTwaddell #processemotions, #examineyourheart, #lessonslearnedinmarriage” username=””]
We can’t control our words or how our spouses words land until we each understand the depths of where they originate. This intentionality of processing what’s inside is one of the best gifts we can give our spouse as we build healthy communication.
2. Changing out the listening filter in communication begins with recognizing every filter is compromised.
Realizing that none of us have a filter clean enough to actually hear our spouse’s words correctly the first time brings a huge release to each of us.
- First, it puts us on an even playing field so there is less space for wrong assumptions. No place for defensiveness or blame.
- Second, it silences unreasonable expectations because we realize we are flawed. So, we can just admit it before our words even escape our lips.
- And third, we are less prone to react with our own negative communication if we remind ourselves that we probably didn’t fully hear what our spouse was trying to express. This acknowledgement is a calming extension of mercy. It prompts us to ask clarifying questions and actively “change out” our filter.
3. Keeping the lines from fraying in communication begins with committing to extend grace.
There is such a domino effect that takes place when the listening side of communication is not working. Emotion leads to more emotion which leads to misunderstanding, blaming, defending and the cycle just keeps repeating with little to no resolution and no sense of affirming one another.
Grace has to be the agent to bridge the gaps and keep the lines from fraying. Without it, our words too easily become points of contention and division.
No marriage can survive where communication is void of grace.
[bctt tweet=”Grace is the honey that coats our spoken word and the balm that aids in receiving it. It gives the benefit of the doubt and quiets the tension of emotions. It pauses. Breathes. Opens. Receives. @CrystalTwaddell” username=””]
I’m happy to say we are still celebrating a long and ever-growing marriage, and learning to value the art of listening has brought more life to each of us than any spoken word.
Crystal is an advocate of living outside of comfort zones as a means to unlocking hidden potential and experiencing God’s wild and uncontainable love. She writes on combining a little bit of intention with a lot of passion to create an overwhelming legacy of hope. She is the proud mother of a Professor of History, a Worship Pastor and a soon-to-be Biologist and also loves fresh markets, lattes and all things French.
Which of the 3 ways to fix communication do you resonate with the most?
What’s a lesson you’ve learned about fixing communication in your own marriage and/or life?
Click the link if you’re interested in reading all of the posts in MM’s most recent blog series—Lessons Learned in Marriage. And check out the graphic below to see all the bloggers who’ve participated. Next week, I’ll be back with a post on “How Do I Honor My Spouse When He Asks Me to Sin?” Have I got your attention? Lol! This is a follow up topic/post requested by a reader in response to my post – 6 Reasons Why I Choose to Submit to My Husband. Hope to see you then!
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Grace Moments Linkup, Imparting Grace, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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