We all have this deep need to be known and understood. We long to be heard and accepted. In spite of these needs that we all share, we tend to be terrible at meeting this need in others without doing some serious work to grow in self-awareness.
So how can we love others when we feel entirely unheard by them? How can we continue to listen when it seems our words are falling on deaf ears? How can we pursue connection when it seems all the other person is interested in is distance?
I know that it is possible and I know that you can become really really great at it and I know that if you do the work necessary all of your marriage and relationships have a great chance of improving and strengthening.
I am going to put a couple of my very favorite and most life-changing marriage related books at the end of this post, so make sure you read through to check those out!
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Remember That You Decide How You Behave
I know this is tough to stomach and accept. I LOVE blaming my actions and behaviors on someone else. I default to the “look what you made me do” mindset that T-Swift so perfectly communicated for all of us.
The truth is that no one else is responsible for your actions or reactions. You are ALWAYS in charge of you. You decide if you shoot back disrespect or unkindness.
I know it’s crazy to wrap your head around and I know it is especially challenging in the moment if you like me tend to fly off the handle and run that mouth. I get it. But we CAN choose a different reaction.
We are FIRM believers that you can’t love people the way God calls you to until you let God love you! If you are interested in a more focused study and a reminder or encouragement of just how extremely loved you are by the Father, sign up for our FREE 6-day scripture writing challenge, Extravagant. Join thousands of other believers as we spend six short but powerful days focusing on the love the Father has for you!
Keep Connection Your Objective
Decide what the purpose of communication and confrontation is in your marriage? Do you just want to be right? We tend to think that is what we want, but I believe we really want connection.
We want to feel connected, loved, safe and understood. Make that your goal instead of trying to be right or seek some kind of justice in the moment.
When connection is your goal, your words become graceful and kind and compassionate. They will be full of respect and mercy rather than accusations and insults.
It’s helpful to use “I” statements rather than “You” statements which put people on the defensive instantly. So instead of saying, “You never listen,” try, “ I keep feeling like I am unheard.”
Ask The Father For Wisdom & Favor
It is baffling how often we forget that we can involve our Father in ALL the issues of our lives. He cares about all the details and of course your marriage is precious and important to Him!
Ask Him to help you control your reactions. Ask Him to soften your husband's heart to hear you. Ask Him to soften YOUR heart towards your husband and to see him and his circumstances with clarity.
There have been so many occasions when I have watched the Father step in and give Mike the clarity or understanding that my nagging couldn’t achieve.
Even if you’ve already ran your mouth and escalated the situation, I feel you. Me too probably. But take time to stop and seek the Father for your circumstances.
As pointed out in point 1 above, you are in charge of you. You can control your actions and reactions, but there are times where that is harder. Certain emotions like anger, fear, and insecurity can really amplify things and make the goal of connection harder to stick to.
Sometimes you just have to come back later. This is a common one for me. I tend to go from okay to seething pretty quick. I always communicate more effectively when I allow myself to process and center my intentions.
When you don’t think you will be able to control your tongue or actions, come back later.
Get Outside Help & Mediation
This is always some of my very favorite advice. Get some help! You know the level of help you need for the stuff you and your spouse are working through and dealing with.
If it’s minor and you just really need a third party mediator, ask a couple that you’re both friends with to come and help you work through some communication barriers you are facing.
If it’s a bit more intense then sit down with a pastor. If you have some real trauma or long-standing patterns of miscommunication, then find a counselor and do some work with them!
There is no shame in needing help. The bottom line is that we all DO need help at some point or another. Have courage and reach out and ask for it.
Here are some of my very favorite books for growing in your marriage and all other relationships as well! These are all faith-based and packed full of helpful information to help you improve as a partner, parent, and friend.
If you want to really dive in and further discover the love the Father has for you I highly suggest you sign up for our 6-Day challenge Extravagant which explores His love in fun and maybe new-to-you ways. You can join the challenge here.
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