In discussions of how to elevate our level of communication with our mates, our love for our spouse must be thicker than their faults. Arguments, fights, violence, wars and divorce are all a result of not finding common ground. Effective Communication can eliminate discord and help people come together. Language rooted in love and kindness can open the hearts and minds of every human being in the universe. Our use of language undoubtedly determines our success when communicating.
Marriage is one of the most important events that require effective and quality communication, because it is the cornerstone of society. About 50 percent of first marriages, 64 percent of second marriages and 74 percent of third marriages fail. Although there are many issues marriages and families are confronted with that undermines stability, it can be asserted that most marriages fail as a result of not realizing effective ways of communicating. Within the context of this article, we would like to focus on how husbands and wives communicate with one another and offer information to help raise the level of communication within the marriage relationship.
Prior to marriage, have you noticed the interaction between men and women in a dating relationship? Usually it’s very patient, kind, considerate, gentle and tender. During the “dating” or “courtship” phase, love is blind. In the absence of pre-marital sex, it’s blind to the faults of the other person, blind to the mistakes, blind to the less attractive sides. Both male and female often see the best in one another and the two are excited and maintain hopeful anticipation throughout a cat and mouse game. They creatively engage in a discovery process to determine whether or not this is the one they could spend the rest of their lives with.
Courting is fun and new. It’s exciting, exhilarating and rejuvenating. It’s a divine process. However, pre-marital sex “muddies the water” of the whole chase and takes away from it its divine purpose. Engaging in sexual intercourse prior to marriage totally changes the quality of communication. Both the Holy Quran and the Bible admonishes us in this regard. Sex creates cords of attachment, feelings and emotions that are not easily broken and opens your eyes to a more intimate side of another. One of its divine purposes is to help establish unbreakable bonds between husband and wife.
Regardless of age, one must be mature enough to emotionally cope with the effects of this level of intimacy. In a society where pre-marital sex is the norm, many had their first sexual experience at an early age and were not emotionally and mentally mature or prepared to handle such a responsibility. With the “looseness” of our society, there may be many people who have cords of attachments to five, ten, twenty or more other people. So, when attempting to engage in effective dialogue with their mate, their view is colored by all these other personalities. The bonds and cords have not been appropriately cut, prior to the ultimate bond of marriage. Fornication and the misuse of sex has led to a degeneration in how we relate. Premarital sex destroys a society and the ability to communicate effectively. Likewise, adultery destroys a husband’s and wife’s ability to communicate effectively with one another.
The courtship process is not new. This style of dating is designed to allow an avenue for men and women to get to know one another for the reasons of selecting a life mate. Although, it takes time to get to know your mate, and this can only appropriately be done in the context of marriage. Also, time brings about changes and how your mate is today, may not be true 10-years from now. Therefore, it’s important for both husband and wife to remain students of one another.
While “courting,” men and women appear to interact on the highest level. Yet, after marriage, many couples seem to start taking one another for granted. They stop extending each other common courtesies such as: please, thank you, you’re welcome. They neglect taking the time to primp and prepare themselves for the other. They compete, rather than complete and often intentionally push one another’s “hot” buttons to see which one can say the meanest, most low-down and dirtiest things to each other or who can hurt the other one the most. Unconsciously, they blame each other for the hurt and pain others have caused, and draw lines in the sands of the relationship daring the other to cross enemy lines.
The Holy Quran teaches us to encourage one another to be more patient and pray. It advises us to “call in the best manner.” The Bible admonishes us to “turn to the other cheek.” While couples are more apt to show strangers and people outside of their homes patience and kindness, they fail to extend the same to their mate. Instead, couples become enemies one of another and work overtime to emotionally and mentally destroy each other out of an unfulfilled need to be understood. In some cases, communication becomes a deadly assault weapon, rather than a tool to bridge the gap in the relationship and inspire unity. When angry, couples tend to forget that their words do not return void and interact in destructive ways toward one another. Consequently, they create a condition in their marriage that may not have been intended. It’s important to really understand that the death or life of your marriage lies in the power of your tongues.
Marriage is a vehicle that can help both men and women work through many childhood issues. But, it requires you to behave according to the “golden rule”. If you and your mate allow your anger to consume you, and communicate in hurtful and damaging ways, the two of you will not reach the destination in which God designed marriage to take you. The same is true if there is a lack of consistent and meaningful communication.
When two people marry, the dating process must not end. The same time, care and consideration, interest, excitement, patience and gentleness present when you were courting, must remain present during marriage. Husbands and wives must continue to look for the best in one another and turn to their mate’s better side. Love will thicken as each spend quality time nurturing and strengthening their relationship, while pardoning and overlooking minor trifles that in truth really doesn’t matter. Instead of allowing anger to rise and starting world war three over petty offenses such as: smacking while eating, squeezing the toothpaste in the middle of the tube instead of rolling it at the end, tossing dirty socks under the bed, leaving the toilet seat up, or for falling asleep on the movie, look for ways to appreciate and honor your mate, rather than criticize them. Put good will and intentions behind your dialogue, especially through difficult matters. Develop a workable plan for moving past issues and come to agreements where the two of you can share the winner’s circle together.
Regardless of past circumstances, commit now to a better and more loving way of communicating with your mate. Stop the blame games and pointing the finger at your mate as being the problem. Understand that if your communication “stinks”, both of you are the problem. Thus it requires both of you to accept responsibility in creating viable solutions to the situation.
Effective communication is open, honest, clear and safe. Name calling, cursing, sarcasm, invalidation are not methods of communicating safely. Ingredients to communicating on the highest level are love, kindness, honesty, openness, empathy, patience, self-control and a willingness to believe the best about your mate.
Our marriages become more peaceful and loving, when we raise the bar on how we communicate. A higher level of communication happens when husband and wife communicate with one another as if they were communicating with God – and they are!