The Secret To Good Communication

95% of the couples that come to my office for counseling admit they need at least some help in communication. I wouldn’t disagree with any of them! But, I would disagree with most couples’ understanding of what needs to change in their communication.

Most couples think they need help with communication principles. Typically, this would involve helping with understanding, expression, and listening. Although I agree there is room for teaching these subjects, I would argue that a deeper, more significant problem is sabotaging communication between a husband and wife.

Think back to your dating relationship with your spouse. For most couples, communication wasn’t a struggle at all. In the early days of their relationship, most couples experienced hours of deep and meaningful conversation going late into the night. There was plenty of mutual understanding, transparent expression, and attentive listening. This proves that we know how to communicate with each other just fine. But it must also mean something else is happening underneath the surface, causing our communication to break down.

There is something happening below the surface of your marriage that is causing communication to break down.

The first night Star and I met, we had a great conversation. We laughed at each other’s jokes, asked questions when we didn’t understand, listened intently, and maintained excellent eye contact. Why? Because our hearts genuinely wanted to express care towards each other.

After being married for only a couple of years, these moments seemed to occur less and less frequently. Did we need an understanding of the principles of communication? History says no. We knew how to communicate. The real issue was that we didn’t want to communicate.

Life happened. Actually, marriage happened. We became less focused on each other and more focused on ourselves. Star and I started to say hurtful things to each other. We weren’t as quick to say sorry and got angry at each other. We began to lose trust in each other. Somewhere along the way, we became more focused on our needs, wants, and desires than each other’s. Our selfishness, which had been there all along, started to reveal its ugly head.

The degree of our selfishness dictated the quality and quantity of our words to each other. It wasn’t that we somehow lost or forgot our communication skills. We lost our love for each other. We drifted in the direction every single marriage on the planet will drift towards separate from God, motivating and empowering us to resist it. Our hearts became full of pride. We started to question God’s plan for us. We became consumed with getting our own needs met. Pride, unbelief, and selfish self-love started to eat away at our communication and, eventually, our marriage.

What does this say about our words to each other? Communication requires much less skill and much more love.

Good communication requires much less skill and much more love.

Our communication started to struggle back then (and at times still struggles today) because we lacked love for each other in our hearts. Good communication starts in the heart. It’s not primarily a matter of what words to speak, what questions to ask, or how to listen more effectively. Good communication in marriage is contingent upon how much love we have in our hearts for our spouse.

What causes a lack of love toward your spouse?


Sorry to use such a disgusting term, but it’s memorable and accurate. Pride, Unbelief, and Self-Love are the primary reasons for losing love for your spouse. Here’s what each looks like regarding communication in your marriage.

Pride says…

  • My spouse is the problem in our communication.
  • They just don’t understand me.
  • I’ll start sharing my emotions when they begin sharing theirs.
  • I’ll start listening more when they start listening to me.
  • I’ll confess my stuff as soon as they confess theirs.
  • Our marriage would be great if my spouse communicated just like me.
  • If my spouse would just ___________, then our communication would be excellent!
  • If my spouse would communicate like ___________, then everything would be perfect!

Unbelief (In God and his plan for you and your spouse’s life) says…

  • My spouse will never change the way they communicate.
  • I can’t change the way I communicate. That’s just how I am.
  • If our communication doesn’t change, I’m just not sure how long I can last in this marriage.

Selfish Self Love says…

  • I won’t change the way I communicate. That’s just how I am.
  • If only my spouse would listen to me!
  • If only my spouse would talk to me!
  • I wish my spouse would go talk to someone else.
  • I wonder how ___(someone else’s spouse)____ would respond to what I’m going through right now.
  • Since my spouse won’t listen and doesn’t understand, I’m going to go talk to ___________.

The secret to good communication is…

Whether you’ve been married for a day or 50+ years, Pride, Unbelief, and Selfish Self Love will entice you to BLOW UP or CLAM UP in your communication. When you sense this happening, and it will, God invites you to LOOK UP so that he can re-orient your heart towards your spouse.

The secret to good communication is a transformed heart, and God wants to, and can, transform yours…regardless of how hard it has become. God wants to replace your heart of PUS with a heart full of Humility, Belief, and Sacrificial Love.

Communication isn’t rocket science, but sometimes it requires somewhat of a launching pad to get things back on track. The launching pad isn’t a learned skill but a transformed heart towards your spouse. Ask God to give you the Humility, Belief, and Sacrificial Love you need to put some of the below into practice:

Humility says…

  • I am the biggest problem in our communication.
  • What can I do to help my spouse understand me?
  • I’ll start to share my emotions regardless of whether they ever share theirs.
  • I’ll start listening more so I can better understand them, but ultimately because I care about them.
  • I’ll confess my part in this conflict regardless of my degree of fault.
  • I’m going to work on communicating better as long as I live to make our marriage everything God wants it to be
  • I will continually ask my spouse how I can communicate and listen better to them.
  • I will observe how my friends communicate and hope to learn some skills to help me communicate.

Belief says…

  • God wants my spouse to change and he will not give up on them, and neither will I.
  • With God’s help, I can change the way I communicate.
  • God will give me the strength I need to endure the difficult seasons of our communication

Sacrificial Love says…

  • I will do everything I can to change or adapt the way I communicate/listen to honor my spouse, even if it means setting aside what I need or communicating/listening in an uncomfortable way to focus on their needs first.
  • I will be more focused on drawing out my spouse’s thoughts and listening to them as opposed to demanding that they listen to me.
  • I will be patient with my spouse and simultaneously try and create the best possible environment for them to talk to me.
  • I want my spouse to come to me whenever and with whatever they are going through. I will listen until it hurts.
  • When I am tempted to think about what it would be like to have understanding and compassionate conversation with someone else’s spouse, I will ask God to help me turn my focus away from that temptation and pursue meaningful conversation with my own spouse.
  • I will refuse to have heart level, transparent conversations with members of the opposite sex.

Our hearts and minds need to be renewed daily in the direction of love to consistently communicate with love. It isn’t something once done and forever accomplished but a way of life, and this requires a daily relationship with God.

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