Your military marriage can get through anything if you are simply willing to communicate about everything. Hold on though! Don’t run away too fast…it’s not always so simple. There is a wrong way to communicate, but lucky for you there is also a right way. Stick around if you’d like some help breaking it down.
There are many ways we can communicate but not all of them are healthy. Sure, we could yell and scream, and throw out words as sharp as daggers. We’d still be communicating (and maybe even getting our point across) but none of it would be productive. It will only bring more damage to your marriage than progress.
When I think about the areas where my marriage has struggled, it is always in the places that we are not willing to communicate effectively. We’re either holding onto hurt, pride or we’re unwilling to listen and only waiting to respond. We’ve overcome a lot in our ten years as a military couple. Through all of our trials one thing has remained the same: our biggest breakthrough moments have always began with a good conversation.
I mean a real, honest, open and respectful conversation. The kind where both of us are willing to set aside our big emotions and listen to understand the other person’s perspective. There is no yelling, no below the belt punches and no cold shoulders. If I’m being completely honest with you, I’m not very great at doing any of the above on my own. I would be lying to you if I told you anything other than the grace of God saved my marriage. God is capable of restoring, healing and renewing even the most devastating circumstances.
So, hold on, sweet military wife. It’s not too late for your marriage either. After a lot of trial and error here is what I have found to be the foundation of a healthy conversation.
CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE
I don’t like to beat around the bush and trust me, I am the first person that can work up some sass, especially if I feel attacked. But, if we really want to have a healing conversation, we have to be willing to tone down that sass and approach the situation with a calm and respectful attitude. The Bible tells us that, “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
Your feelings are valid and they deserve to be heard, of course, but that doesn’t mean that we have to allow those feelings to overcome our actions. With the wrong attitude, no one will even be listening to our words. Before you even start a conversation, ask the Lord to help you control your words. Even if the situation escalates, your gentle response will have the power to bring it right back to where it needs to be.
LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND
I have to remind myself of this one most often but I think everything we need to know about good conversation can be summed up in this one verse: “…be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry” (James 1:19). The most important part of a healthy conversation with your husband is remembering that he is not your enemy. You are on the same team fighting for each other, not against each other.
When you listen, don’t get ahead of yourself and start forming your reply. Listen to what he is saying. Ask questions to understand his perspective and remember that his perspective is just as valid as yours. Be willing to share with your husband about the new approach you’re taking in your communication and ask if he’d be willing to join you.
TAKE ONE THING AT A TIME
One thing I love about God is that He is a God of process. I fully believe He could have spoken the entire Earth into existence with just one breath. He didn’t though. Instead, He chose to take it one day at a time. If you’re working through a hard time with your husband, remember this quality about God and ask Him to help you reflect it in your conversation. Choose to focus on one thing at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself or your husband by trying to tackle everything at once.
FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM
Marriage requires a lot of grace for each other. You’re both only human and you’re going to make mistakes. We all have blind spots and qualities about ourselves we need to change. So, let’s encourage our husbands. Let’s stop beating him over the head with all of his mistakes.
Let’s be willing to humble ourselves and apologize when we have been wrong. It’s amazing how quickly an honest apology can change the trajectory of a marriage. The only perfect one is Jesus Christ and through His suffering we have been offered forgiveness we didn’t deserve.
Sister, let‘s set our marriages free from bitterness and resentment by giving and requesting the same forgiveness that has so freely been given to us. I know what it feels like to be in the trenches fighting for your husband. God is capable of anything as long as we are willing. Be patient, be strong and don’t give up.
You’re not alone, military wife. I promise God will never give up on you.
– https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/4166349808/ (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0)
– Homefront Heros Ministries