Do you feel that there is sometimes a communication problem in your marriage? You say things and you don’t think your spouse is really hearing what you are saying or you feel that your spouse is always talking to you harshly? Communication is essential to make any relationship work. Even more so in marriage, as this is a relationship you set out to last your entire lifetime. You also want this relationship to be your closest and best human relationship that you have. Having this means good communication is nesccesary to keep a marriage healthy and happy.

At the XO Marriage Conference Jimmy Evans shared about the topic of communication. He presented the five elements of communication in marriage. The points below are his, I just expanded on what he said. He had great information I thought would be helpful to other married couples. His guidance is straight forward and easy for anyone to grasp. Here are his five points, and my thoughts to go along with his points.

1. The Right Tone

It really doesn’t matter as much what you say, but more in how you actually say it. Tone sets the entire stage for a conversation. Tone carries weight. It can show whether you care about the person or not. If your tone is quipped, short, and your words are said with a bite, you convey anger in whatever it is you are saying. You could just be using the words “dinner will be ready in an hour”, but saying it with hostility in your tone will create a reaction from the other person. Do you want a negative or positive reaction from your spouse? If you want a negative response or perhaps even a fight, then using a negative tone will certainly achieve that result. If you want peace and harmony in your marrriage then set a nice tone in the way you speak and communicate with your spouse. If you are in a bad mood and know your tone is going to come out wrong, then sometimes it’s better to not say anything for the moment.

2. Enough Time

It seems that with advancements in technology we are getting less face time and actual conversation time with our spouses. Instead, our faces are glued to the screens of our phones, IPads, TVs, and laptops. We are neglecting our marriages by not spending enough time in conversation with our spouse. There needs to a point made with both spouses to make communication time a priority. 30-60 minutes a day is a great start and  realistic goal to set. This time could be spent together over dinner conversing, or if you have lots of noise and small children, after the kids go to bed. The point is to make the time in your day so you are both together and you set aside the technology so you are focused on one another.

3. Approachable

Is there a topic you avoid talking to your spouse about because you know it will set them off? Do you feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” with your spouse because you don’t want to upset them by saying or asking the wrong thing? In order for healthy and open communication to exist in a marriage then both spouses need to be approachable. There needs to be an open door of communication for whatever the topic may be. A spouse should never feel that they can’t go to their husband or wife with something because they fear that they will blow up at them. Check yourself for these tendencies. Are you the bomb waiting to go off?

4. Confidentiality

Trust is essential for a healthy marriage. You should not be taking private matters from your marriage to others. Your mom, sister, or friends don’t need to know the intimate problems that may exist in your marriage. If you need help in your marriage, then get some professional help. Don’t take your secrets outside the marriage if you know it would upset your spouse if they knew the matters you were sharing. Big no-no.

Your spouse is to be your deepest confidant. If you break that trust it becomes difficult to earn it back. Jimmy Evans shared a great quote on this:

5. Atmosphere of Truth

Truthfulness is essential to a good marriage. If you can’t be honest with your spouse then your marriage is set up to have problems. This doesn’t mean we need to be harsh or mean when sharing truth with our spouse. If they are doing something wrong and you want to point it out to them, such as a way they are parenting that is not working with your kids, then do so with kindness and love. Speak how you would like to be spoken to. Being truthful doesn’t mean being harsh.

Jimmy Evans explained how Jesus came to the world with truth, but he also came with mercy at the same time. That is how we need to handle truth with our spouses. Truth and mercy must go hand in hand within a marriage. Sometimes, a “truth” is just an opinion or criticism, so be careful with what truth you are presenting to your spouse. Nobody wants an overly critical or nagging spouse.