How can I fix communication in my marriage? This is one of the first questions I am asked by countless Christian women looking for practical help to fix a Marriage. It doesn’t take much to cause communication problems in a relationship. The answer is not a quick fix communication tool, it is a systematic approach that requires intentional work on our part. Today I will share the first of Five Communication exercises that I use and coach other wives to use to improve communication in a Christian Marriage. The first tool is to let God filter my words first or let God guard my mouth.
So far in this Marriage Communication workshop, we’ve done some hard heart work:
Matthew 12:34 For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
We’ve looked deep into our heart and done some hard work in these 5 areas
- Know: We asked God to “search me, know me: and help us own our part in the path to effective communication.
- Accept: We learned what it meant to accept our husband as he is this moment.
- Understand: We dove into the power that negative thoughts have in our lives.
- Change: We learned the first steps to change those negative thoughts.
- Pray: We made a strategy to fight the real enemy for our Marriage in prayer.
If you are just joining us I caution you – go back and start at the beginning of the workshop. If you start trying to change your words before you look at your heart the change won’t last and it will feel forced and fake. It could do more damage than good in the long run.
When Shut up and pray isn’t enough to fix the communication problems in Marriage
Our time last week ended with a challenge. Spend the next 30 days Praying over the problems in marriage instead of talking, nagging, criticizing about them.
Who gave it a good ole college try? Now, who failed within the first day?
It is just hard to guard my mouth or keep my mouth shut about the things that I want to change about my husband and in our Marriage. H.A.R.D.
Why is it so hard? Well, there is a lot of hurt behind those unmet needs and unfulfilled expectations. As much as I know we are all trying to give them to God, it is just way too easy to take them back and try to deal with them myself. Can you relate?
I mean I spend so much time giving the same stupid marriage issues back to God. This is my crazy control cycle:
- Give the problem to God – surrendered fully.
- Five Minutes later – Take it back from Him to try to handle it myself.
- Feel convicted over that mistake and give it back to Him.
- Repeat over and over until I am tired of hearing my own prayers!
Our First Communication exercise is to find scripture on Communication to help us do this God’s way.
Yes, you heard me right. Find more marriage scriptures. It is eye opening to just google the phrase “What does the Bible Say about Marriage” and pull marriage verses from there.
If you are registered for this Free Marriage Communication Workshop you will receive an email with Session Six that has a Downloadable, Printable of the best Bible Verses about Communication. Honestly, I think they are more bible verses about marriage but either way they are what I use to fix the communication problem in my Marriage.
The truth is, no matter how much I am praying over the issues in my Marriage I still have a pattern. I’ve dealt with my negative thinking about my husband, I am accepting him (or trying very hard to) as he is, I am praying hard over the real issues. What’s the deal? Why am I still saying the wrong things?
It seems like My mouth has a mind of its own.
Have you heard the phrase “you never forget how to ride a bike”? Well, that is because of muscle memory. It’s the same for typing, handwriting and any other repeated physical activity. What is repeated is remembered. My mouth and mind have been using that Negative Thought Superhighway for years to deliver negative words, eye rolls, annoying body language. It takes time to unlearn those Toxic Communication patterns.
How do you unlearn these harmful Communication Styles?
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Let God filter Your Words. Set a Guard over My Mouth, Lord
In everyday life, business comes in, irritation stirs, hormones rage and our mouths react out of habit with words that cause death in our marriage. If we ever hope to change this pattern we need help from God.
When emotion stirs up in us – we need to let God filter our words before we react to our husbands badly!When emotion stirs up in us - we need to let God filter our words before we react to our husbands badly! Click To Tweet
How To Let God Filter Your Words:
Step 1: Recognize that you do not need to always say the first thing you think
James 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger
This bible verse about communication is easy to apply outside the home. I am the quiet one just listening most of the time, but at home, I can be quick to offer my opinion and criticism. My husband shuts down when I do that too often in a negative way. For years we were stuck in that pattern and we were losing all the ground we had gained through marriage counseling. What I needed was a mouth filter.
I want to add a disclaimer here: Don’t be afraid to find a good Christian Marriage Counselor.
They can really help (even if you are the only one going). I went alone to counseling for years before Bud ever came with me. It helped me learn about healthy boundaries in Marriage and it gave me an outside perspective. Don’t feel ashamed that you need help. Few in our culture know how to save a marriage or have a successful marriage to last a lifetime. Getting help is a wise choice many times.
Years ago I heard Beth Moore tell the story of talking to God about her marital problems before she talked to her husband. She tells about going to the car and screaming her head off about all their problems to God first just to let off the steam of the emotion. That really spoke to me!
Step 2: Find a safe space to vent your emotions to God
At the time I didn’t have a car so I chose the bathroom as my safe space. Anytime I am upset, emotional or feeling like my mouth is about to get me in trouble I go into the bathroom and talk to God first. I ask God to guard my mouth so I don’t get my soul into trouble.
Some amazing benefits of talking to God about things First:
- God becomes my filter
- Most of what I want to say – in all my emotionalism – is not good, factual or helpful. Letting God filter my words lets me get all that out of my system in a safe space (where I will hurt no one’s feelings).
- I calm down and can communicate clearly to my husband
- Talking to God first lets me process my emotion and sort out the facts. When I have the facts and my clear opinion (without the anger) I can have a calm conversation.
- This piece is key because it helps me keep my voice, avoid feeling like a door-mat and still respect my husband.
- We usually avoid conflict
- After the emotion is filtered out we are able to sit down together and talk through the issues. No Fighting. Everyone wins!
Proverbs 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
The Principle of letting God filter your mouth is not about losing your voice and having no say in your home. Asking God to be your Guard is about learning How to Develop a Verbal Filter so you respond to situations instead of reacting to them. It will teach you how to measure your words carefully to fix communication in your Christian Marriage.
#6 Barrier to Effective Communication in Marriage: Reacting instead of Responding to situations
What does it look like to ask God to Guard Your Mouth?
This is the difference between reacting and responding. When you want to react to the tension and drama, you Pray “Guard my mouth, Lord” and respond instead.
How do you respond rather than react? Picture this with me.
In a small house (about 1000 sq ft) in Kentucky one spring afternoon, five kids (all under 10) are running through the hallway. There are cheerios smashed all around the couch, shoes strewn near (but not in the closet), and coloring books sprawled around the table. An exhausted mom is browning ground beef in the skillet singing along with Hill-song on YouTube.
Her husband comes in from work obviously agitated and seeming ready to pick a fight.
He points out the mess, the shoes, the Cheerios, the chaos of the kids. Not getting whatever response he hoped would come from the kitchen, he finds the missing couch cushion, sits down, adds his smelly shoes to the pile (near but not in the closet) and begins staring into his phone.
His wife has been doing Online Marriage Counseling through this Free Marriage Communication Workshop.
She has been working hard to accept his criticism, asking God to soften his heart to want to help her with the chaos of the house but she has had one too many things go wrong today.
She can feel the words welling up in her to tell him off and defend herself. Defend the house, defend the kids, defend the burned burger in the skillet, tell him a thing or twenty about how he should be helping her instead of complaining then checking out.
Instead, she excuses her to the bathroom. She reads a verse she taped to the mirror about her words needing to be encouraging and edifying. She whispers a prayer that God would defend her instead and save them another fight. As she prays, God gives her peace and composure to go back out to the disaster zone.
“Today’s been rough Honey,” she begins “what do you think about dinner out somewhere the kids can play and we can connect?”
What happened when the wife let God filter her words and guard her mouth?
Did the husband get away with being insensitive and self-centered? Maybe -for now.
Would her harsh response have been an awe-inspiring moment where he learned how to be a better husband and never hurt her with his words again? Nope.
Did the wife keep herself from doing or saying something that would have made it worse? Yes. Victory!!!!!!!!!!!
Later on, after the kids go to bed and they have both relaxed from a crazy day they will have time to talk. A safer time to talk.
It’s always a better conversation when the emotions have settled down.
The wife can tell her husband how those words hurt her feelings. Her husband can tell his wife how bad his day was and how stressed he was. They can both work through real issues.
The dirty house was not the real issue. The loud kids were not the real issue.
His real issues may have been feeling like a failure at work and having unrealistic expectations of his wife. Her real issue may have been exhaustion and a lack of appreciation and help. None of that would have been talked through at the height of emotion.
When we let God filter our words, meet our needs, handle our expectations we can deal with the real problems instead of causing more problems.
With parenting, we call this redirection and distraction.
As they are at the height of a fit you don’t try to rationalize with them or teach them. You need to get everyone calmed down, find some distance from the raw emotion, then evaluate the issues and make a plan to avoid it next time.
The beauty of married life is that if we get it wrong – fly off the handle at the height of our emotion and exhaustion – we have a new day tomorrow. You can simply try again the next time it happens, and it will happen again. If your life is like mine the same scenarios repeat over and over every day.
In conclusion – When you let God filter your words and guard your mouth you can avoid unnecessary conflict and improve Communication in Marriage
Today we covered the importance of Prayer to improve communication in a Christian Marriage. When we set aside a safe place to escape from heated emotions we can invite God into our Marriage to guard and filter our words. Understanding who the real enemy is and determining not to speak words of death as we fight a very real battle for our Marriage is powerful.
To remove the barrier of effective communication we set a guard over our mouth and stop reacting. Instead of reacting to the drama we respond with words of life.To remove the barrier of effective communication we set a guard over our mouth and stop reacting. Instead of reacting to the drama we respond with words of life. Click To Tweet
When we stop speaking words of death and pray about those issues instead we will see the Power of God unleashed in our Marriage.
If this is an area you are working to improve in your marriage be sure to join the Workshop, download the effective communication in Marriage PDF workbook that is filled with even more Marriage Communication exercises! You will also receive Printable Bible Verses about communication.
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