So far this series, we have seen at least four ways to divorce-proof your marriage:
- Make a habit of praying together.
- Reject living your lives on two separate tracks.
- Don’t make a habit of sleeping single in a double bed.
- Humble yourself and do not wait to seek help when needed.
Now, you say, “How did you come up with this list?” These are common threads seen in all the couples we have counseled over the years whose marriages were falling apart.
The fifth way to make sure your marriage is divorce-proof is to make communication a priority.
Let’s begin with the “mute” side of things:
- When you go out to eat, you are not engaged in conversation; your mind and your eyes wonder all over the place. You are more interested, for instance, men, in eating, watching the TV screens or checking your phone than creating meaningful conversation.
- You limit your conversation to the basic elements of the day such as: “What time will you be home?” or “Who’s getting the kids at school today?” or “What’s for supper?”
- Neither husband nor wife are willing to take time to listen to each other share about their day and their personal cares.
- You connect in more meaningful conversation with your children and co-workers than your spouse.
- You do not discuss future plans, purchases, or goals.
- You carry past hurts and offenses around in your heart for days, weeks, months, years.
How do you correct this “mute” situation?
- Set aside a time each day to just talk to each other. If you have children, have a set time for them to go to bed each night. Don’t let your children come between you and your spouse working on your communication. If you are empty-nesters, talk with each other in the morning or at a meal. Give each other at least ten minutes of your undivided attention FOR TALKING. . . and concentrated listening.
- The person you should have the most intimate conversations with is your spouse. Therefore, guard emails, Facebook messages, texts and tweets to the opposite sex.
- Men, you initiate the conversation. Your wife is longing for you to talk to her which helps fulfill her need for security. It tells her that she’s important and what she has to say is important. Ask her about her day, her concerns, her disappointments, what God is teaching her from the Word, about her ambitions and desires, what she has been thinking lately about life, church, school, the children, etc.
- Wives, talk about things that matter to your husband—his work, his goals, his desires, how God is working in his life, etc. Please take this in the right spirit please, wives, learn to be quiet and let him talk. Don’t interrupt.
- Let love cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Don’t harbor grudges, offenses, or bitterness. Talk lovingly about what concerns you and respond biblically. Take it to the cross; run to Christ (Philippians 2:5-11; Ephesians 4:29-32).
- Learn to be transparent and vulnerable with each other. Trust has to be developed, but complete openness between one another is priceless. This produces wholesome intimacy (Genesis 2:25).
- Return to the days when you had a love language that was all your own with pet nicknames, love songs, terms of endearment, whispering in each other’s ear, etc, etc, etc. Do you catch my drift?????
Recently, while standing in line at a funeral calling, I became acquainted with a young man in front of me. He asked me how long I had been married, and I said, “41 years and it’s gets better every year.” Quickly he said, “What’s your secret?” I answered “Work at your marriage every day.”
So, which one of you will start the conversation going today?