When you talk about communication, you have to talk about every aspect of it. The good, the bad and the ugly all has to come out. Without talking about every side of it it's very easy to develop bad communication skills without even realizing you've done so. We've already talked about how our body language can negatively communicate to our spouse so now lets talk about some of the other ways we negatively communicate with our spouse before we move on to positive communication.
Let's start with a very popular choice for us girls...nagging. We have all done it at some point in our marriage so nobody get mad at me! :o) I googled the definition of nagging and found it very interesting. Here's what I found...
1. To annoy by constant scolding, complaining, or urging.
2. To torment persistently, as with anxiety or pain.
I also found this...
1. To scold, complain, or find fault constantly
2. To be a constant source of anxiety or annoyance
Read those very carefully a couple of times and let them sink in before you continue.
My husband is a very forgetful man, he is one of those people who would forget his head if it wasn't attached! With that being the case, it is very easy for me to fall into nagging him. He so often forgets something that it just becomes second nature for me to remind him about things over and over. However if i'm honest, I do remind him about things even when I know he hasn't forgotten them. The truth is, sometimes he just simply doesn't do things in my time frame. I think he's taking too long to do something so I just decide i'm going to bug him about it until he gets it done! That's nagging. That is being a constant source of annoyance and it never accomplishes anything.
I understand there are times that it feels like it's so important we simply can't let it go, but we have to take a step back and figure out if this is something we should really be pushing. I love the verse in Proverbs 21:9 that says “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.” By the way, the first time I heard that verse it was like a sucker punch in the gut! It was the first time I realized that I had become a nag and saw what exactly I had been putting my husband through.
What about an issue pertaining to church? What if you're in a situation where you want to go to church but your spouse doesn't? Is it ok to nag then? As hard as this is to believe I really don't think it is. There are some things you should simply pray about. Spend some time giving it to God and let Him take care of it. Nagging is simply unbelief’s substitute for prayer. We have to believe that God is big enough to talk loud enough that your spouse can hear Him enough! Now that is not to say that you should not go to church, there is nothing that should keep you from your relationship with Christ and that includes your husband. God’s rules and desires trump your husbands every time they conflict! I’m speaking only of your husband himself not wanting to attend church.
Another form of bad communication is simply fighting. Nothing ever gets resolved when you fight your spouse. Now I’m not saying that the two of you will never disagree about anything, if you’ve been married longer than a month you are going to have disagreements! However, disagreements are completely different than fights. When you are fighting, everything about you is on guard. You’re ready to throw punches at the drop of a hat and it doesn’t take any time at all to move from reasonable to unreasonable.
Have you ever tried to talk with an unreasonable person? It can be one of the most difficult things to do. Unreasonable means “refusing to listen to reason”, or “lacking reason or judgment”. I love the definition of words because looking up what a word truly means can show us how well it describes us sometimes. So like we did last time, take a minute and remember back to your last disagreement. Were you being unreasonable? It does not matter whether you are right or wrong, once you hit unreasonable your disagreement has turn into a fight and you are absolutely in the wrong. It’s very important to remember that every disagreement does not have to turn into a fight!
Now let me segue here for just a moment and talk very quickly about disagreement. Just because you are married does not mean that you will forever agree on everything. Do not try to dehumanize your spouse by forcing them to agree with you about everything! They are their own person with their own thoughts and views. I will talk more about disagreements in marriage at a later time but I wanted to add that little snippet. :o)
Before I end this I want to say one more thing about fighting very quickly. It is very important to remember that when you start fighting your spouse you are actually fighting against yourself. The day the two of you got married you became one. It is absolutely impossible to fight yourself and walk away the winner. You can’t do it! When you fight your spouse you have begun to fight your very well being, and it does nothing but hurt and damage both of you. I strongly urge you to learn how to disagree with your spouse without fighting!
That's all for this post. After this I have one more post about 2 more forms of bad communication before we are able to move onto good communication. As always, if this series is something you're interested in feel free to become a follower or subscribe and have each post delivered directly to your inbox.
This post is linked up with Time Warp Wife, Raising Homemakers and Women Living Well.