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Do You Speak Words to Create the Marriage You Want?

I wonder sometimes if we understand the value of our words. Do we realize there is power in what we say? God created us in His image. Which means, like Him we have the power to speak words into our world. And the words we speak can have a lasting impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.

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“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Prov.18:21

We can speak words that build up or we can speak words that tear down. It’s our choice. And you better believe as the verse says, we will reap the consequences of our choice. Read more

Are You Willing to Lose the Battle to Save What You Love

It’s easy to find yourself in a fight with your spouse without knowing how to let it go. You know you don’t want to be fighting. But the thing you’re fighting over seems too important, so you believe you must stand your ground. When this happens you need to know there are times when you have to lose the battle to save what you love.

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There is a story in the bible that I think sets a great example for couples to follow. It’s a story that demonstrates the wisdom of king Solomon and how he resolved the conflict of two women. Read more

Book: 25 Questions … About Love, Sex, and Intimacy

Book review: 25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask About Love, Sex, and Intimacy, by Dr. Juli Slattery

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We first heard Dr. Slattery speaking as a co-host on Focus on the Family. So when we were asked to read and write a review for her new book our immediate reaction was, “absolutely, we would be honored.” We felt very confident that whatever she had to say about marriage would be well worth our time of reading and would definitely be something we would recommend to our readers. Read more

4 Reasons Why It’s Wrong To Fight Over Who’s Right

Have you ever found yourself arguing with your spouse and can’t remember what you started arguing about? Have you ever thought if you apologize and admit you were wrong, it could make you look weak? I must confess, before the Lord brought healing into our lives and marriage, I used to struggle with this way of thinking quite a bit. That’s why I want to share with you why I now believe it is extremely wrong to fight over who is right.

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For many years I was easily caught in this scenario of fighting to prove I was right. It didn’t matter what the argument was about, I was determined from the beginning to prove my points and to prove I was right. And if it ever appeared Read more

The Wrong and Right Way To Let Go of Offence

There is a wrong way and a right way of letting go of the things that hurt you. When someone does us wrong or has bad behavior that offends us, we will often say “I just let it go,” or “I don’t even let it bother me.” But often when we think we are letting go of something that hurts us, the truth is the offence actually still has some effect on us and could be damaging to our future.

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So what is the wrong way and the right way of letting something go?

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Don’t Throw Your Marriage Away, Save It.

I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem deciding when to throw something away and when to save it. The struggle I have is when I look at something thinking I might throw it away, I then think to myself, “maybe if I throw it away now I will one day in the future wish I still had it.” Because what I’m really trying to decide is, has this lost it’s usefulness to me, or does it still have some form of value to me?

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That’s the same problem I see a lot people have when it comes to their marriage. They are trying to decide if their marriage has lost its usefulness to them or not. If they determine that it no longer has the value that it once did, such as “makes me happy,” “fulfills me,” “completes me,” or “satisfies all my needs,” they are ready then to dispose of it.

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Confront Your Spouse With Love

Confronting your spouse about an important issue that must be addressed is a very difficult thing to do. And if it is not done properly and with love the results can take your marriage in the wrong direction. But when it is done right it will add a greater dimension of intimacy in your marriage.

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On our post, How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism? I talked about the importance of handling constructive criticism well and the value it can add to your marriage. On this post I want to be very specific about how to confront your spouse without causing more damage to your relationship.

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How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism?

It is not easy to receive criticism even when it is constructive, especially when it comes from your spouse, the one you want nothing less than absolute acceptance and approval from. And it is not easy to give constructive criticism to your spouse without hurting your spouse’s feelings and coming across as disapproving and rejecting. But knowing how to give and receive constructive criticism is desperately needed for a marriage to grow in oneness as God has intended.

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The struggle with feeling critical toward one another is very real in marriage, I don’t think anyone is immune from it. So the challenge we all face is knowing how to guard against allowing criticism to be used in a negative way that is hurtful and harmful to our marriage. While at the same time allowing constructive criticism to be used in a way that promotes growth and encouragement.

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When You’re the Only One Trying to Improve Your Marriage

Can one person make a difference in their marriage even when their spouse is not trying? My answer to that is a resounding, YES they absolutely can!

There is no question in my mind that even if only one spouse is trying, they alone can make a huge impact on their marriage and if only one person is trying there is still tremendous hope for the marriage.

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I know some might say. “but, it takes two to make a marriage work.” I know because I have heard someone say that to me before and which my reply was, “yeah, but it only takes one to quit.” ( For more on that conversation check out, Easy as One, Two, Three.)

And so yes, it is true, to make a marriage work the way God designed it to work it does take two; both spouses working together becoming one.

But the question for some is, What good can one person do when they are the only one trying?

There are several suggestions I want to make on how one person can make a difference in their marriage. These are ideas that I have seen work in my own marriage and for many other marriages as well.

1) The first place to start is with prayer. Prayer is a powerful weapon for anyone to use and yet it is so often neglected. But the bible clearly says that instead of letting ourselves become overwhelmed with fear and worry we should take all of our request to the Lord.

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.”

Praying for a spouse who is not giving their best or who has completely given up on their marriage is always the right place to start. Not only can prayer change their heart and turn them around, prayer should also change the one who is praying. Because sometimes it may be your own attitude or perspective that needs to be changed first. And if nothing else prayer is most vital to you during times of difficulty in order to keep you calm, at peace, and continually hopeful.

2) The next thing is don’t focus on the negatives that your marriage doesn’t have and start working with what you do have. Your marriage doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s marriage. It just needs to work for the two of you.

If you dwell on the negatives you see in your spouse or your marriage as a whole you are creating an atmosphere that will push your spouse further away from you. Your spouse cannot be forced to want to be close to you, they have to voluntarily want to be close to you. So you have to attract them with the positive, full of life, best of you that you can be.

3) If you have a hard time being positive and trusting in the Lord, that is a good sign there is some work that needs to be done in you first. Your spouse cannot be the one you expect to fix you. You have to allow yourself to be broken and humble before the Lord and allow Him to heal your issues from the past and restore you as the person He created you to be.

Often this type of inner healing requires some outside assistance from someone who is capable of seeing your situation objectively and is capable in leading you towards sound biblical answers. Don’t hesitate to turn to a counselor, pastor, or even a friend depending on the severity of what you need. Just be sure you choose someone who will give you Godly counsel that protects your marriage covenant and promotes your focus on you and the healing you need.

4) Invest in knowing what makes your spouse feel loved, appreciated, and wanted. Learn your spouse’s love language and speak it often. Just see yourself as someone who is planting seeds in a garden knowing that in due season if you do not faint you will see your harvest.

But don’t over do it by appearing to be desperate or even fake. The thought here is to serve your spouse with love in subtle ways that will penetrate any hardness they have towards you. Love is hard for anyone to resist as long as it is genuine and is not used as a form of manipulation.

5) Look for ways to rekindle the romance. Get back to dating your spouse on a regular basis. Do what you can to turn up the heat on your sex life. Find other creative ways to be spontaneous and romantic. Again, the same here as with love language, just don’t come across as desperate, fake, and manipulative.

6) Work on communication at whatever level you’re at with your spouse. See communication as something you grow at doing. Don’t expect your spouse to jump into deep levels of communication if that is not something they want right now. You can make your desire for improving your marriage and your level of communication known to your spouse, but do not constantly remind them.

 

Finally, remember as long as you are willing to keep moving forward and you’re inviting God to do a work in your marriage you have plenty of reason to be hopeful and encouraged. After all, you are just one step away from two people trying to have a great marriage. And once your spouse is on board and with the Lord’s help, you can have the best marriage you ever dreamed possible.