Oct 082014 2 Responses

The Secret to Good Communication in Marriage

Good communication is at the heart of every good marriage.

Show me a healthy marriage and I’ll show you a couple who has learned to communicate.

It doesn’t mean they are perfect. Of course there are moments of deep disagreement or misunderstanding. But even those moments do not greatly hinder the relationship because good couples know how difficult good communication can be. (See: The Lowest Bar for Marital Success)

What makes a couple good at communication?

For some, communication comes easier because they’ve grown up in homes in which good communication has been modeled or taught. For others it is more difficult because of a lack of understanding or some deep wounds which make it difficult to reveal one’s true thoughts.

Yet the secret to good communication in marriage is not growing up in the right home or even marrying the right person. The secret is respect.

When two spouses respect one another, they learn to communicate. It may not be easy. It always takes time. But when respect is present, communication skills grow. (See: Respect–a Necessary Ingredient for a Successful Marriage)

Miscommunication is not necessarily a lack of respect, but an unwillingness to learn good communication is always a lack of respect.

Because I respect my wife, I will learn to communicate with her.

Consider the origin of the word respect. It means to “look back” or “look upon.” To give someone respect is to give them proper attention. Notice—it is attention which is given, not gained.

When relationships begin, our attention is often gained. Attractiveness gains our attention. But in marriage, attention is to be given. Part of saying “I do” is vowing to give our attention to our spouse. They do not have to gain our attention because we will give them our attention.

When a relationship has chronic communication problems, the problem is an absence of respect. They are not giving proper attention to their spouse. Poor communication is a symptom of the disease of disrespect.

Good communication is a byproduct of deep respect. (See: Five Ways a Wife Respects Her Husband)

Consider. If I respect my spouse, I will:

  • want to know her
  • want to be known by her
  • be willing to listen
  • give her the attention necessary to communicate to me
  • refuse to make any assumptions regarding her opinions or ideas
  • not belittle her
  • not caricature her (i.e. “all women are emotional”)
  • understand she is a complex person whom I do not fully know
  • speak to her and not at her
  • listen when spoken to
  • give her ample time for communication to take place
  • clearly show my desire for her to communicate with me
  • reveal my heart to her

While respect is an internal feeling of admiration, it expresses itself through action. A person can’t claim to respect their spouse if their actions do not clearly reveal that respect. Yet acting in a respectful way is the best way to grow feelings of respect.

Having a temporary disagreement or miscommunication is not evidence of an absence of respect; it is evidence of two different people trying to understand one another. However, if there is a pattern which proves communication is difficult regarding an issue, the root problem is likely a lack of respect. (See: The Warning Sign of a Bad Marriage You Might Miss)

Can’t talk about money? Do you respect the financial decisions of your spouse?

Can’t talk about sex? Do you respect the sexual desires of your spouse?

Can’t talk about kids? Do you respect your spouse as a parent? (See: It’s Not My Job to Read Your Mind)

Every spouse deserves a certain level of respect as a human being. The also deserve a certain level of respect because you have chosen to be in a committed relationship with them. However, they also need to earn a level of respect based on their faithfulness, effort, and actions.

If disrespect exists in your relationship, the reasons for that disrespect must be explored. Sometimes it is deserved and sometimes it is not. Either way, where disrespect exists you likely need professional help to improve the marriage. (See: 13 Questions to Gauge If You Need Marital Counseling)

Like marriage, communication is not easy. Yet lack of communication is simply a symptom of much deeper issues. When two people respect each other, they learn to communicate. When one person does not respect the other, they will not communicate effectively.

For more, see:

Top 10 Communication Posts

Obey Your Mother, Respect My Wife

The Five Most Read Marriage Posts of 2013

2 Responses to The Secret to Good Communication in Marriage
  1. […] But disagreements often cause more harm than good. Because we don’t know how to handle them, w... kevinathompson.com/in-marriage-beware-of-the-jiggler
  2. Donna Reply

    Thank you for the information it is very helpful for me as i decide if i want to stay in my marriage. My husband often tells me he does not respect me and I have to earn his respect. Although I agree with the part I have to earn his respect in showing my commitment to our marriage I do not feel he has ever shown me a healthy kind of respectful relationship in how he communicates with me which is very damaging and now I have lost a great deal of respect for him to the point I no longer feel he deserves

    my love. I am so lost that after 35 years of difficult married life I waited until now to just have had enough. I am no longer a warm loving person and feel closed off and shut down. I am feeling isolated and alone because I never felt safe to share this with anyone. Even though I have tried to talk to him he just does not respect what I have to say so i feel I must give up before my whole life passes by filled with nothing but sadness.

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