How N.O.T. to Communicate with Your Husband
My hurt feelings turned into defensive words toward my husband. “You always think the worst about me and never give me the benefit of the doubt like you do everyone else!”
This communication tactic of mine was familiar to us both, my go-to response when I’m upset. And instead of helping the discussion between me and my husband in that moment, my words caused our communication to go to an unhealthy place, even pulling him into playing the communication attack game.
Ever been there?
You know, using what I call “extreme words” or “poor choices of words” to relay feelings to another person.
And the tricky thing about communication in marriage is that it’s easy to get on a negative cycle of communication—one where it feels like most if not all interactions are difficult with your husband.
So what do we do?
Besides the many great how-to tips available about communication in marriage, we also need to consider how not to communicate. Staying away from these negative discussion busters helps foster life-giving cycles of interaction with our spouse, which lead to greater intimacy.
I’d like to offer how N.O.T. to communicate with our husband:
N – Nothing helpful comes from using never and always or other extreme words in a negative way. In my opening example, I told my husband that he never does something for me, but always does this something for everyone else. When we use these words, we are going to the extreme case and that is rarely true. How valid is it that my husband never or always does or doesn’t do something? Or, that it’s for everyone else—the whole wide world of people, but not for me. We can take this a step further and make extreme statements about actions: I will never trust you again!, or I knew he didn’t love me!
As a wife, let’s strive to only use extreme words in a positive light and instead remind ourselves that statements like, I will always love you, speak life into our marriage.
O – Opt-out of making “if-then” statements. “If you loved me or if you were a better husband, then you would _____________.” If-then begins and ends on the premise, “I hope I make you feel guilty enough to do whatever I want.” Instead, we evaluate our desires and communicate them to our husband in an honest and loving way. We ask his opinion and feelings on the matter, and then we decide a plan to work together to reach them.
T – Teach lessons and preach sermons. Whether it’s a great life-lesson, message, or quote related to something we want to change about our husband, it is rarely well-communicated and well-received. Instead of this often well-meaning but often quick reaction and communication, first pray and ask the Lord to put the message in your husband’s path without you having to be the one to share it with him. Or, in a general conversation about your day, bring up the great message or song as something that resonated with you but not pointing out how much he needs it.
Can we trust that the God we serve will work in ways much better than what we feel we must communicate in the moment? I think we can.
“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, ESV).
Wife Step: Reflect on how you typically use some of these unhealthy ways to communicate with your husband. Then incorporate the alternative and more positive ways to better communicate. You set the example, and pray he follows suit.
Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. As an award-winning writer and avid speaker, she loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, she has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media, and is currently working on her first book. Karen’s writing connects family life experiences, Christian ministry, and real life scenarios as women to the timeless truths of Scripture. Vulnerable about her own marriage journey, Karen knows life never gets more real than as a wife. Karen and her husband Mike have two grown children and a grandson. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology.
Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com