How do you prevent communication breakdown in a relationship? Communication in marriage – even a Christian marriage – can be tricky? As I counsel and mentor wives, I hear this listed as the biggest struggle in their marriage 90% of the time. Hands down, wives doing marriage God’s way long to improve communication. So today I’ll share 10 strategies to avoid communication breakdown in marriage in the first place.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NASB
Why Start With Strategies to Avoid Communication Breakdown in Marriage?
The reason we have to start with strategies to avoid communication breakdown is that we don’t start trying to improve communication until things are breaking down. So we first must begin with ways to stop breaking down the lines of communication further.
Maybe you have some of these questions, questions I hear often from wives just like you:
- What are the 5 ways to avoid communication breakdown?
- How do you stop a marriage breakdown?
- What causes communication breakdown in marriage?
- Is our marriage destined for divorce if we can’t fix our communication problems?
- What is the easiest and most difficult way to avoid communication breakdown?
- What are the strategies for effective communication?
- When should we get outside help?
- What are 3 communication strategies to help our marriage?
So you have questions about communication and making things better in your marriage… and I wish I could start with a lot of answers, but we need to do some investigative work first.
Distance in Marriage
I want you to think back, way back to when you began dating your spouse. Do you remember all the late-night talks? Today’s generation might imagine hours upon hours of texting late at night.
Communication was no problem when we first started a life together. Why was it so easy? Everything was new and fresh and odds are there was little failure or disappointment or weight of responsibility wearing you both down.
But life happened. You got married. One or both of you followed a path to a promising career. Calendars filled up. Failures came. Disappointment slipped past our guard.
Distance set in and began to leave signs of poor communication in marriage.
Business in Marriage
What changed to cause distance in our Christian marriage? When did we begin to have trouble communicating?
For us, it was a gradual build-up to poor communication. Life got busy. We both work and the time we spend together seems to be less and less as life goes on. Many of our conversations are task-related. We rarely shared the little things that made our day bright.
Gone are the days of late-night talks and hours of texting about our hopes and dreams. I’m lucky if he even knows I wrote a new chapter for the book I am working on! It’s not intentional so much as routine but the cycle is vicious.
- Business breeds distance
- Distance breakdown communication
- Broken communication destroys marriage
Broken Communication Starts Slow
Truth – no one wakes up one morning and decides to destroy the communication path in their marriage! It is a slow disintegration. Bit by slow bit we allow other things to become more important to us than our spouse. Day by day we drift apart, not even realizing the long-term effects of that slow fade.
Learning how to avoid communication breakdown begins with realizing what causes it to begin with! You have to be intentional. You have to go on the offense and fight for your marriage
Why Fight For Good Daily Communication?
Why? What is the logic behind fighting for good daily communication? My thought years ago was that as long as we are not fighting we are all good.
Then life brings hardships without warning.
- Tragedy strikes
- One of us hurts the other
- Betrayal slips into our home
- Health is affected
- A Child struggles
- A Friend dies
- Financial hardships come
When life is hard, poor communication turns into no communication or hurtful communication.
Related Post: How To Be a Biblical Wife To an Ungodly Husband
How Do You Avoid Communication Breakdowns in Marriage?
Learning how to avoid communication breakdowns in marriage begins in your thought life.
That’s right, your words begin in your thoughts. Here is the perfect Bible verse about avoiding communication breakdowns in relationships!
“for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45b NASB
Someone once asked me, “What are the four basic ways to avoid communication barriers?” and I was puzzled. Honestly, I assume they had heard a sermon or lecture about it and remembered there were four things.
Personally, four things would confuse me. I need the simplest approach to making marriage work. When I study the issue of broken communication in the Bible, I see 2 steps and possibly 10 strategies to avoid communication breakdown.
There are 2 simple steps to prepare for healthy communication.
What are the strategies to avoid communication breakdown in marriage?
Preparation! Preparation is the key to having healthy communication on your part. Remember, your part is the only part you can work on alone.
This article could hit you at 2 places.
- You know how crucial healthy intimate communication is and want to maintain it and keep growing!
- You are living in the thick of the battle with broken lines of communication. Some communication breakdown examples are:
- Everything you say is taken offensively
- You don’t like much of what he says either.
- You feel hopeless to improve communication in marriage.
The first thing we need is a perspective shift:
- I must accept that I can not change my husband.
- I can only change myself.
- There is nothing I can do to permanently change anything about my husband.
God can change him and my prayers can go a long way to speeding those changes. However, the sooner I release that hope – the hope that I can somehow teach my husband or coerce my husband – the sooner real change can come.
Next, I must Intentionally pray that God will show me if and where any of my words are part of the problem.
Now I am not saying you are the problem (or that I was the problem), but if I’m honest, my words are not always loving or accepting.
My words do not always have my husband’s best interests in mind. There are days my words and nagging, critical, angry, and bitter. I often catch myself trying to teach my husband, taking over the role of the Holy Spirit in his life.
I was never designated the Holy Spirit’s helper for my Husband. Were you? Yet I put myself into that role often and my husband resents me for it. He finds those types of words disrespectful!
There is a Spiritual war happening over your life and your marriage. The enemy chips away at us in our thoughts; reminding us of past mistakes, pointing out flaws, and keeping us from recognizing growth and change.
We make his work way too easy when we do not fight back. How do you fight back in our Thoughts? So glad you asked!
- Be honest about the hard parts.
- There are hard things in life and in marriage. The enemy may have ammunition to use against you and your husband where there are areas that have not been dealt with and forgiven. Be honest about those things so they don’t blindside you later.
- Forgiveness is a hard topic for so many reasons. BUT, on the other side of forgiveness is Freedom! God taught me how to forgive the hard parts and it completely changed the direction of my life! Can I share that story with you?
Related Post: 7 Steps to Thrive Through Forgiveness in Marriage
An overarching constant of a healthy marriage is community.
When we isolate it is easier to slip into the distance. When we are surrounded by like-minded believers, they hold us accountable and encourage us to keep investing!
There is always room to grow! I am so glad you are here! We can grow together! (Join us in the Private Wives Only Facebook group to let us connect.)
2 Steps To Improve My Part Of Communication
I don’t want to nag my husband or criticize him all the time. Learning how to change my words meant learning how to change my thoughts about my husband and our marriage!
So how do you change the way you speak to your husband and Improve your part of this path of communication?
Remember that our words begin in our thoughts.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart (mind).” Luke 6:45
So if our words begin in our hearts and mind, we need a plan to be sure we are thinking the right things. We need strategies to avoid communication breakdown!!!!
Related Post: How to win the battle for your mind!
Step 1. Take Every Single Thought Captive
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB
2 Corinthians 103-6 tells us we have powerful weapons to fight the attacks of the enemy on our minds. Verse 5 means that every thought that comes through your head can be stopped.
- You don’t have to daydream about a better life
- Fantasies about a better spouse can be stopped in their tracks
- Critical thoughts can be stopped.
- Negative thoughts can be stopped.
- You don’t have to replay every time he’s messed up.
For a time, (a day or a week) commit to taking captive any harmful thought that could destroy your marriage.
Step 2. Replace Every Harmful Thought
Once you have taken your thoughts captive -stopping every harmful thought you can replace them with good, godly thoughts. To do this I take every captive thought through Philippians 4:8 (Click the words to better understand each one’s meaning)
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB).
I’ll take you through this test for my thoughts to show you how to use each of these 10 strategies to avoid communication breakdown in marriage.
10 Strategies to Avoid Communication Breakdown in Marriage
Using these 10 strategies to avoid communication breakdown begins as very tedious work, but after some practice, you will find a new pattern of thinking begin to emerge and it will feel wonderful!
I must re-emphasize that you need to commit to a period of time where you are intentional. These things we discussed earlier are key!
- Prepare your heart and mind.
- Accept that you can’t change him.
- Stay in Community
1. Every Thought Matters
Take every thought captive literally means that every single thought in your mind matters.
- Your thoughts in the morning
- Daydreams while washing dishes
- Fantasies while folding clothes
- Rants while driving
- Every Thought Matters!
- As I go about my day the enemy tempts me to obsess over my husband’s flaws and mistakes.
- He points out the laundry that my husband threw on the floor instead of in the basket.
- I notice the dishes throughout the house and get aggravated that my husband doesn’t clean up after himself.
Sometimes the attack of the enemy goes deeper. I begin to wonder things like:
- Is he really saved?
- If he were saved would you still be struggling with this?
- Maybe it was a lie.
- He’s such an immature believer if it’s real.
- We are unequally yoked.
- How can he lead when you are so much more mature than he is?
- He has messed up so many times he’ll never get this right.
- We all suffer while he is growing in this area…
2. Test Each Thought
I take each and every thought captive, stopping them dead in their tracks and take them through the Philippians 4:8 test to see if they are godly or sinful. Maybe you don’t think thoughts can be sinful, sin your reason is in our words and actions.
“But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15 AMP
Those thoughts reflect desires in our hearts. Desires for a happier life or a better marriage can easily lead us to sin! So maybe the thought isn’t a sin, but if it leads to sin I don’t want to humor it or give myself any more struggles that could be fought for!
3. Ask, Is This Thought True?
If yes, okay. If No, what is true instead that I can think about?
- Is my husband saved? He says he is and I am not God.
- I am saved.
- God has told me to love all – saved or lost.
- I am to bear others’ burdens and show compassion instead of judgment.
- I can only see his actions, not his thoughts, intentions, or faith so I have to take his word unless there is glaring evidence of deception.
4. Ask, Is This Thought Honorable?
If yes okay. If No, what is honorable instead that I can think about?
- He makes mistakes but he is not his mistakes.
- There is good in him.
- He does not stop me from growing in my faith.
- There are times he goes to church with me and engages about it.
- I remember when he would never go to church – he has grown here.
5. Ask, Is This Thought Just?
If yes okay. If No, what is Just instead that I can think about?
- His faith is personal and will not look like mine.
- I have punished him in the past for not conforming to my way of faith.
- His faith is between him and God and I have to leave it there.
6. Ask, Is This Thought Pure?
If yes okay. If No, what is pure instead that I can think about?
- I will not compare him to anyone else.
- While I pursue authentic faith I will guard against friendships with other men who are pursuing their faith.
- I will intentionally seek out other like-minded wives to study the word with.
7. Ask, Is This Thought Lovely?
If yes okay. If No, what is lovely instead that I can think about?
- He does not need to meet my expectations – only Jesus was perfect so I need to stop expecting him to be.
- I want to assume his intentions are good even if he falls short.
- He is trying his best – not my best his best – and that matters.
8. Ask, Is This Thought Of Good Repute?
If yes okay. If No, what is good repute instead that I can think about?
- He has trusted me enough to share that he struggles.
- If he were anyone else this would be enough.
- The pressure to figure all of this out as an adult is huge and he is doing the best he can.
9. Ask, Is This Thought Excellent?
If yes okay. If No, what is excellent instead that I can think about?
- There are many areas he has grown this past decade.
- List them and try to find ways to mention them to him.
- He reads his Bible now.
- Broken things get fixed way faster now.
- He spends time with his kids.
- Alcohol never comes into our house.
- He doesn’t swear at me.
- Most of the time he works.
- He considers my needs.
10. Ask, Is This Thought Worthy of Praise?
If yes okay. If No, what is praiseworthy instead that I can think about?
- My husband is a child of God.
- God loves my husband so much that He sent His Son to die for his sins.
- The Holy Spirit is working in my husband – even when I can’t see or understand.
Will You Use The 2 Steps and 10 Strategies to Avoid Communication Breakdown in Marriage?
These are the 2 simple steps with 10 strategies to avoid communication breakdown in my own marriage. Will you try them out today?
- Take every thought captive
- Test every thought with Philippians 4:8 asking if they are:
- Of good repute
- Worthy of Praise
While they will not fix all marriage communication issues, they will go a long way toward healing your heart and mind so you can do the deeper work needed to fix your marriage struggles!
Honestly, this is just one part of the process to improve communication in a Christian marriage.
If you want to go deeper, check out this 10-day marriage communication workshop where you will learn 10 Simple Marriage Communication Exercises to Help You Reconnect Now.
The workshop is online and self-paced. Watch each video and follow along in the workbook to get the most out of the classes. In the workshop, I work through strategies to avoid communication breakdown ppt to make the process as simple as possible!
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