Communication in Marriage

by Rusty Reeder on June 05, 2024

Communication in Marriage 

It’s a typical Thursday night at the Jones’ house. It is 7:30pm, and Bob and his wife Suzy are relaxing and eating take-out Chic-fil-A. Both are sitting around the kitchen table. Suzy left work around 5:30pm and picked up the food on her way home. Bob had a deadline on a project and finally got out of the office around 6pm. They both had left home that morning before 7am, the same as the prior three days. Bob is scrolling through his phone looking at emails, news, and Instagram. With earbuds in place, Suzy has been listening to an audiobook for the past four days and is trying to wrap it up tonight. 

It’s quiet for 15 minutes as they eat their dinner, so when Suzy says “You haven’t heard a word I have said.” Bob thought that was an odd way to start a conversation! 

Bob says with a bewildered look on his face,  “What did you say?” 

She said “ I was telling you about my day at work. I guess you don’t care.” 

“Babe, you know I care. Please tell me what you were saying” replied Bob. 

Suzy used many words to describe her day over the next 20 minutes. She described issues at work, the customers that she interacted with, and the family drama that one of her coworkers is going through at home. Bob listened to his wife and resisted the urge to “fix things” for her. He just smiled and listened.

Once Suzy finished telling Bob about her day, she asked him about his day. 

Bob replied, “It was good.” 

Suzy replied in frustration, “Just good? What made it good?” 

Bob chuckled and said, “I don’t know… I guess that people left me alone and I was able to get my project completed”.

Suzy smiled and turned her audiobook back on. 

This interaction was nothing new to them. It has taken place a few nights a week for the last five years since the kids went off to college. Prior to five years ago, the evenings were full of chaos with kids eating dinner, getting homework done, football practice, cross country practice, and other family stuff. Bob and Suzy have settled into a slightly more peaceful schedule. It may seem boring from the outside but life has a way of allowing you to just enjoy each other's company in a hectic world. 

He Says vs. She Says

Ready for this groundbreaking revelation? There are two people in a marriage, two personalities, two sets of needs, and two heads full of ideas. It is also no secret that men and women are very different in their communication styles. 

Suzy loved that Bob listened to her intently for 20 minutes talking about her day and didn’t hold it against him that she had to get his attention to begin the conversation. Bob was content sitting there not talking about his day but did anyway because his wife asked it of him. Suzy also didn’t push too hard for more information and Bob appreciated that as well.

We have a running joke in my family about the amount of detail in a conversation that my wife needs and the lack of detail I provide. Years ago, the husband of a couple at our church told me they were having a baby. in a quick conversation. I came home and mentioned it to my wife, Angela. 

The questions started. 

Angela: “ When is it due?”  

Rusty: “I don’t know.”  

Angela: “What are they having?”  

Rusty: “I don’t know.” 

Angela: “How far along is she?” 

Rusty: “I don’t know. I gave you all the information that I have…”

Then six months later, the baby was born…. 

Rusty: “Hey, they had the baby and everyone is doing great”

Angela: “Boy or girl?” 

Rusty: “It’s a baby.”

Angela: “How much did it weigh?” 

Rusty: “It’s a baby.”

Angela: “How long is it?” 

Rusty: “It’s a baby.”

Angela: “Did she have to have a c-section?”

Rusty: “Listen, I know two things, they had the baby and everyone is doing great.”

The Important Stuff

I know all of this stuff may seem minor, but it sets the tone for your marriage. Suzy and Bob connect through the communication that they share. Note that I didn’t say conversation, I said communication. They both need words and verbal affirmations but they also need eye contact, a smile, and many other indicators that they are listening and that they are important to each other. 

I try now to give more details to Angela when I am relaying information. She knows, through my effort, that the things that she finds important still aren’t important to me, but she is important to me. When we navigate through life as a married couple, the things that seem little add up to being big.

If we learn to listen and communicate about the little things, it's much easier to communicate about the big stuff.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭11‬ ‭

Communication is the Key

We have all heard that communication is the key. It truly is. It opens the door to a much more fulfilling marriage. There are so many marital issues that could be resolved through proper communication. Unfortunately, when this doesn’t happen, resentment, anger, and disappointment build up. Even if there are no issues, learning how to communicate will help you in your marriage. Some think that communication is solely about talking, but it’s not. It’s also about paying attention, listening, and, sometimes, even patience.

Communication builds familiarity, connection, honesty, respect, and trust. The building blocks for a truly great marriage. 

Practice the Art of Listening

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭19‬-‭20‬ ‭

Knowing and doing are two very different actions. I know that I need to listen more than I need to respond. Putting that knowledge into practice is a challenge. We like to be the god of our own world. We want things to be how we want them when we want them. Any deviation from our plan causes us to not be comfortable and we don’t like it. 

Hearing is only a part of listening. We need to truly understand what our spouse is telling us. It has to be a priority to listen to our spouse, even when we may not want to take the time or hear what they want to say.

But what if my spouse doesn’t listen? Then you listen to them and show them the way it is done! Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is one of the most important relationships to make sure you both listen. Set the tone and the expectation and your spouse will follow.

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18‬:‭13‬ 

Don’t Forget to Seek God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬-‭6‬

No married couple will communicate perfectly. We are all flawed and broken individuals. Two flawed and broken individuals in a marriage are simply a pair of flawed and broken individuals bonded together as one. We need to seek wisdom from our Father to help us be a better spouse. We have to seek wisdom through faith that the Word of God is the only true way. We can’t allow what culture tells us to go against the plan and design that our Creator has for us. He wants us to have life abundantly.

God has purposefully given us so much information through His Word. 

I am a bullet point guy so let me sum up a few points from Scripture:

  • Listen
  • Keep your mouth shut until you think long about what needs to be said
  • Don’t provoke your spouse
  • God first, spouse second, kids third 
  • Leave your parents and cleave to your spouse
  • Seek wise counsel
  • Love and respect your spouse
  • You’re in it for life
  • Care for each other
  • Only speak love to each other 

I encourage you to read Scripture on your own. There are lots of reading plans on Bible apps for marriage or simply do an internet search for scripture on communication in marriage. Read them with your spouse. Pray together that your communication improves. I promise you it will be time well spent!

Tags: love, marriage, communication, couples

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