The Pre-Marriage Course

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Communication

Good communication is a vital component of a healthy marriage. It’s only when we get married that we realise some of our deeply held assumptions about life are not universally shared.

We are all different in the way we communicate, and this is affected by:

  • our personality
  • our background

1. Our personality

Extroverted
One of us may tend towards processing our thoughts externally. In other words, we tend to think out loud.

Introverted
Our partner may tend towards organising their thoughts in their heads first before they speak.

Analytical
One of us may work things out methodically and may take a long time to make decisions.

Intuitive
Our partner may often act on hunches and sometimes jump to conclusions.

Talking honestly about and accepting these personality differences is vital if we’re to have a strong marriage.

2. Our family background

Some families are quiet, others are much louder. Some families are more volatile, others are calmer. Some families take it in turns to talk, others frequently interrupt.

We need to recognise the typical communication traits in each of our families, especially if one of us comes from a family that airs differences immediately while our partner’s family tends to delay or avoid talking about conflicting views at all.

Hindrances to good communication

1. Failing to make time

Set aside time for meaningful conversation on a regular basis.

  • plan this time in your calendars (it doesn’t just happen)
  • guard this time from distractions and interruptions, especially from phones and other screens.

Recognise when you need to drop everything and listen to your partner.

2. Failing to talk about our feelings

Some people have to learn to talk about their feelings as they may have had no role model growing up

  • you may find talking about your feelings difficult because of a sense of inadequacy or vulnerability, or a fear of how the other person will respond.
  • dare to trust your partner with your feelings. 
  • if your partner struggles to express how they feel, be sure to listen to them without judging or criticising them.

Sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings is essential for building a strong marriage.

3. Failing to listen to each other

Listening is of huge importance for building a foundation of understanding and intimacy in marriage.

Not being listened to is highly damaging to a relationship. Whereas, when someone listens to us, we feel:

  • understood
  • valued
  • supported
  • loved

Most of us have some bad listening habits to overcome, such as:

  • disengaging mentally when our partner is talking to us
  • going off on a tangent with our own story
  • giving our advice immediately rather than empathising with our partner’s feelings
  • invalidating their fears or their expression of any negative emotions by constantly reassuring them it will be okay
  • Interrupting our partner with our own views or finishing their sentences for them

How to listen

It takes patience to learn how to listen effectively. Listening effectively means:

  • allowing our partner to finish what they want to say
  • putting aside our own agenda and seeking to see the world through our partner’s eyes
  • making the effort to understand them when they think or feel differently to us