The most difficult thing about a marriage is that two people are in it. And we all know that the problem is usually with the other person. If we were just trying to work things out by ourselves, we could certainly do a good job of it, but we have to fit our dreams, desires, hopes, abilities, mindsets, assumptions, needs, and habits in with those of our spouse. And that takes three things: Communication, communication, communication. Verbally, emotionally, and physically.
The foundation of a good marriage that will last a lifetime has to be built by communication. It is the way intimacy is established. Anytime communication is shut off, intimacy suffers greatly. And a marriage without intimacy is dying. You and your spouse must each be able to have a sense of closeness in your marriage—an assurance you are on the same team. Without good communication, you won't have that.
The closest relationship you will ever have is with your spouse because you share everything. Not being able to communicate with him—or he not being able to communicate with you—paves the way for an intolerable existence. Not knowing what your spouse is thinking or feeling makes building a life together impossible. If neither of you know what the other's internal plans and visions are for the future, how can you move into it together?
How can you show your commitment to the relationship if you never share that with your spouse? How do you get the sense that you are always going to be there for each other if you don't talk? If you don't express your fears and inner turmoil, how can you receive the encouragement you need? If there isn't good verbal communication, then there isn't an emotional connection, and that means there won't be good physical intimacy, either. That part of your life together will then become an act without feeling or passion. If one of you believes that the communication is not good in your relationship, then some changes have to be made.
That's why praying about having good communication is so important. Here are some ways I learned to pray about our communication that made a difference in our relationship.
Pray That You Can Just Be Nice
How many marriages could be saved if both the husband and wife would just be nice to one another? It's called common decency. The Bible says, "Love edifies" (1 Corinthians 8:1). That means love builds up and makes stronger. Love doesn't speak mean-spirited and sarcastic words that tear down. What we say and the manner in which we say it can either communicate love or total disregard. Ask God to be in charge of your marriage, and tell him you will do whatever it takes to see that it becomes all it was intended it to be. Even if it means being nice when you don't feel like it.
Pray That You Will Always Be Truthful and Honest
In a marriage, it's important to be both truthful and honest. And there is a difference between the two. When you tell a lie, you are not truthful, but it is possible to tell the truth and still not be honest. That happens when you are not forthcoming with the whole truth. You may not have actually told a lie, but you didn't reveal everything you needed to reveal. Now, you don't need to reveal every single thing to every person you see, because then no one would want to be around you. But you do need to be forthcoming with your spouse, because he will be with you for the rest of your life.
We know if we have told a lie or not, but sometimes we can inadvertently be less than honest about our true feelings because we don't know how to express them fully. You are not entirely honest if you haven't shared your feelings and thoughts. A person who never communicates with their spouse cannot be completely honest because total honesty requires good communication. Of course, it's not good to be expressing every thought you have every moment you have one even with your spouse, because then he won't want to be around you either. But God will give you discernment about that too, if you ask him for it.
Pray That God's Love Will Be Poured into Your Heart
Don't let animosity swell up and become a flood pouring over your relationship. Dam up arguments with honest communication and loving words. "The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts" (Proverbs 17:14). Ask God to make your heart so filled with his love that your words will be like healing waters of encouragement and restoration instead of an open floodgate that produces serious water damage.
Pray That You Can Understand the Signs
Sometimes we have to look very carefully at the body language of our spouse in order to figure out what he wants and what is going on inside him. We have to ask the right questions and be able to discern his reaction to them. We have to read between the lines. Ask God to enable you to recognize the vital signs in your husband. Ask God to help you communicate so clearly that he doesn't have to search for any signs in you.
Pray That You Will Enjoy Doing Things Together
What do you and your spouse like to do together? If you can think of something, that's good. But if you are struggling to think of even one thing, then this is a problem for your relationship. In order to have good communication you must have things you enjoy doing together, even if it's something is as simple as sitting together watching the sunset or reading books or taking walks or going out to eat. If you work together, you still need something to do together outside of work.
Pray That You Will Grow Closer with Each New Stage of Life
There are many stages of life and marriage, and you need to pray that you and your spouse will grow together through them instead of apart. The proof of love for your spouse is the willingness to make changes as your lives progress together. Ask God to enable you both to always be sensitive to what is going on in the other in each stage of life, and to make any adjustments necessary in how you communicate. That way you'll continue to grow together.
Pray That You Will Honor One Another
Don't you hate it when you are with another couple and one of them says something critical, demeaning, or dishonoring about the other? Nothing causes people to feel more uncomfortable than a husband or wife making unkind jabs at one another in front of them. And it can force you into the awkward position of having to take sides in the matter, which you really can't because no one knows the inner workings of someone else's marriage. Sometimes the one who appears to be the charming and wonderful person is actually the offending person who is nice to everyone but their spouse. And the spouse who appears bitter or nasty has actually been pushed to the edge of what she can take.
Pray That You Both Will Have Ears to Hear
Sometimes we think we know what the other person is saying, but God says not to answer too soon before you fully listen. "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him" (Proverbs 18:13). Listening means not talking while the other talks. How can you "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" if you don't listen well enough to know if they're weeping or rejoicing (Romans 12:15)? If it seems your spouse never listens to you—or if your husband is always saying that you don't listen to him—ask God to give you both a heart to hear. He loves answering that prayer.
Pray That the Enemy's Plan to Disrupt Communication Will Not Succeed
Always keep in mind that the enemy of your soul is also the enemy of your marriage, and therefore the enemy of your communication. Have you ever had something come between you and your spouse just when everything seems to be going well and break down the lines of communication so that you suddenly find yourselves completely missing each other? Suddenly there will be confusion or an argument or a distortion of what is being said, and you can't understand the reason for it. Disrupting the lines of communication between a husband and wife is one of the enemy's most common tactics. This can happen in even the best of marriages and in subtle ways so you think it's you. Ask God to keep you both aware of the enemy's hand trying to stir up strife and misunderstandings between you. Don't allow it to happen. If you see that it already has, declare that because God is for you, no one can be against you—not even the two of you.
Adapted from Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage. Copyright © 2007 by Stormie Omartian. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.