If your marriage is like most, it began with good communication. You got to know one another by spending time together. You talked and talked and talked.
Communication is the essential element to every great marriage. Getting to know another human being requires talking. It’s how we fall in love. It’s how we understand another person’s heart. It’s how we resolve problems and discuss needs. It’s so important.
It’s also important that those words be encouraging. That’s what happens early in a relationship, right? Your speech is filled with kindness, praise, and compliments. Without positive words spoken, you won’t have a very good relationship—or a good marriage.
One of a woman’s most important needs is for communication. It’s as important to women as sex is for men. I didn’t understand this concept very well when Karen and I first got married. Our marriage struggled in those early years.
It wasn’t until I began talking to her—truly communicating—that our marriage turned a corner. Patient, loving communication connects her to my world.
That’s why I often give two instructions to married couples. Women should be more sexual than they feel (this always makes the husbands in the room happy). But on the other hand, I tell men they should talk more than they feel. Our wives deserve more than just a grunted word or two at the end of the day.
That leads me to the five standards of successful communication in marriage:
Caring. This is a very simple principle. It’s impossible to communicate with a person who doesn’t care. We show how much we care through attentive body language, listening, and feedback.
Praise. The Bible says we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4). God doesn’t let a negative person into His presence. We’re made in the image of God, which means, as humans, negativity destroys our chances of communication, too.
We can’t always avoid negative discussions in marriage, but we have to earn those with positive words. Focus on each other’s strengths. Focus on the attributes that first made you fall in love. I always tell people they should speak ten positive words for every negative one.
Truth. Ephesians 4 commands us to speak the truth in love. Both truth and love are required. Mercy without truth is like being a cheerleader without a team. It’s meaningless. Truth without mercy is surgery without anesthesia. It’s mean.
Faith. You must have faith—in God and in each other—to communicate in marriage. When problems arise, we may confront them in each other, but we need to allow God to be the enforcer. No nagging, punishment, or browbeating. We let the Holy Spirit convict someone into the actions that can transform them.
Surrender. We must surrender our hearts, minds, and mouths to God. Let Him use us to speak kind words into our marriage.
Communication is central to a good marriage, whether you’re a man or a woman. Speak kindness, truth, and positive words to each other, and watch how God will use these things to draw you closer than ever before.
Discover how to successfully communicate. Watch “The Power of Positive Communication” with Jimmy and Karen Evans.