This is one of those very broad questions that is hard to answer. Let me try to give a broad and general answer and then give a few specific incidents to try and zero in on how to build better communication with our husbands.
The number one thing to remember is that good communication NEVER happens during a confrontational time! As women, we are so tempted to push and push and make our point while trying to force our husbands (supposedly for their own good, of course) to talk to us when they have built up walls against us in their hearts. Pushing for communication when we are in the midst of a fight or argument only causes our husband’s walls to go higher and thicker and to push us into the role of nagging wife. Not a place we want to be and not a good way to strengthen the unity of the marriage.
We have all heard about NOT saying things like, “You make me…” or “You always…” but we do not always know what to say instead. In the heat of hurt feelings, our fleshly response is to hurt back. But it is important to remember that the Lord gives us different directions. In fact, the things Jesus tells us to do can be downright hard! He says:
“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Mat 5:39-44)
Now I am not saying that our husbands are our enemies, but the fact remains that it is easy to treat our husbands as enemies when we are angry with them! God calls us to live with sacrificial love, considering one another’s needs as more important than our own. Of course this doesn’t mean we do not share our needs or concerns or hurts with our husbands. But it is important to realize that there are very often logs in our eyes that need to be removed before we can lovingly speak to our husbands about issues in our relationships with them that must be addressed.
One thing to remember: God gave us men for our husbands. They do not think or respond like a woman. They cannot read our minds, they do not see what we see, they do not think like we think. Two women walking into a room see all the things that need to be done and, often without even discussing it, jump right in and in short order have the entire room cleaned and in ship shape.
A husband and wife will walk into the same room and the husband may not even notice that things are disorderly! Or he may become irritated that it is not perfectly tidy. He may even walk right out of the room, hoping not to get in his wife’s way! But it is a rare thing that he will be able to jump in with his wife and get the work done without discussion about what needs to be done.
What is our problem at this point? We get irritated that they need to be told what to do (and often will reject their help since it wasn’t on OUR terms). And that irritation often leads to bad methods of communication, also known as either nagging or the silent treatment. Neither of these lead to marital oneness and harmony.
So we need to learn how to speak to our husbands.
- We tell him the things that are important to us; we tell him when we need his help and we learn to ask for it without rancor at needing to tell him.
- We learn to express how things make us feel, not what he is doing wrong.
- We learn to stop making accusations and learn to speak with humility, recognizing that things could POSSIBLY be our fault just as much as his.
- We learn to speak in a way that works toward building new patterns of behavior between you both rather than placing blame.
In short, we need to be surrendered to the Spirit in our communication with our husbands!
The Blame Game is one of the worst tools the enemy uses to drive division between husbands and wives. But unfortunately it is one of the easiest and quickest traps we fall into. It not only doesn’t bring satisfaction (because it never resolves anything) but it also works up more anger and irritation with our spouse. Why? Because blaming him keeps us from looking at our own hearts and praying for discernment to see our own sin in the situation. And it is a rare thing in a marital relationship that we have NO fault in a squabble! Even if our fault is .5% and our husband’s truly have 99.5% (a rarity by the way) of the fault, we need to “first take the log out of our own eye” before we can even begin to discuss how our husbands might do something differently.