In my work with premarital and married couples, we often focus on aspects of communication as one of the primary ways to improve the relationship. There are a number of beneficial techniques and ideas that couples can adopt in order to improve their communication. For Christian couples, it is also a good idea to have some “go-to” verses that you can stand on as you seek to honor your spouse through your marital communication.
In this article, I present five helpful verses that can help you and your spouse put the Word of God to work in your relationship, and especially in your communication.
Be Mindful of Your Words
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Be mindful of your words to your spouse. This is especially challenging when the conversation is tense. As you engage your spouse in conversation, ask yourself whether the Lord is pleased with the tone of your words and with the words you choose to use with each other. Pray together that your conversations would be acceptable to God.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Whether we use them for good or for harm, our words matter. In marriage, our words should be used to build each other up, and to share our feelings, needs, and dreams with our partner. They should not be used as a weapon. Do your words bring healing to your spouse, or are they more like the thrusts of a sword?
Restraint Equals Knowledge
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27
Are you hotheaded, or are you a cool spirit? It takes self-control to be able to restrain harsh words. You need to be aware of your own emotional states and you must be equipped with the skills to soothe yourself, and to stay engaged with your spouse through tense moments. Experience and wisdom are the foundation of this sort of “cool spirit.”
Listening is Communicating
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13
The foundation of good communication is active listening. Too many times we respond to our partner without fully understanding what they are communicating, needing, or sharing. Proverbs says that it is folly to respond before we hear. In order to hear, we must devote our full attention to our partner, without distractions. This may require a face-to-face posture, which requires eye contact. It may require physical touch in order to communicate our care and interest. First devote your whole self to understanding your partner’s perspective, and then seek to share your own.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to get angry. James 1:19
Good marital communication involves more than just talking. Two people devoted exclusively to talking will both end up feeling missed, unheard, and undervalued by their partner. From this passage (and others), we see that God’s design for communication appears to place a larger focus on hearing than it does on talking. It has been said that the Good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Open your ears to what your spouse is saying. Open your eyes to how your spouse is saying it. Practice speaking less and listening more.
Christian Counseling for Communication in Marriage
Do you have questions or concerns about communication in your own relationship? Have you been wrestling with some tension over harmful or frustrating communication patterns? If you (or your partner) are experiencing some frustration or confusion over this issue, Christian counseling is a great place to begin to sort that out. I would welcome the opportunity to help you find some answers.
Change is definitely possible. You may not be in a place where that feels possible right now, and that’s OK. But with the help of a good Christian counselor, you (and your spouse) can begin to find the solutions you are seeking. I would be delighted to partner with you as you enter this challenging and important healing process.
“Quick to Listen,” courtesy of the author, Justin Monuteaux; “Couple Walking,” courtesy of Sebastian Pichler, https://unsplash.com/pichler_sebastian