Rev. Larraine Forrester is co-founder of A Relationship Ministry (ARM). Along with her husband Rev. Larraine has for over 12 years counseled couples either helping the engaged to establish a strong foundation for their union or the married to enhance their relationships. Rev. Larraine also works as a Wife Coach and shares wisdom gained during the past 28 plus years of marriage and Seminary. You can learn more about the Forrester’s by visiting: www.arelationshipministry.webs.com
At the core of every marriage conflict is usually miscommunication. Clear and accurate communication is seldom achieved when couples disagree.
Each person in a marriage is an individual who has different and unique filters through which they view the world, live life, perceive various situations and define family. The husband who has been taught that a man shouldn’t be so emotional but instead be “hard” may not easily engage in conversations regarding his feelings for his wife. On the other hand the wife who has been taught to easily express herself, may not understand why it takes so long for her husband to respond during conversations if at all.
When it comes to communication, couples disagree on how much conversation is necessary and when conversation is necessary. Couples disagree on how much money should be spent, how to raise children, where to live, who’s responsible for what chores, which friends the mate should associate with, how much privacy is appropriate, and on and on and on. In marriage disagreements are inevitable and are not necessarily a negative factor. When couples miscommunicate they fail to look at the big picture but rather get caught up in the details.
To be too much alike can be a detriment to your marriage. If you both love to spend, you’ll soon be broke. If you both love to work all the time, you’ll not make time for each other. If you both are thrifty you may miss out on some fun experiences. When a husband and wife disagree it’s an opportunity to effectively merge their souls and bring about balance.
Following are three Power Points for Communication:
1. Write a Marriage Mission Statement (This is the big picture.):
Before you can get to where you’re going you must determine your destination. Ask yourself, when you decided to say “I do”, what was your intention? Was it to love each other, to establish a home, to have children, to be in relationship with God, to be prosperous, etc? Together discuss you plan accomplish these things? Examples: Date night once a week, conceive in a year, attend Bible study, save a certain percentage of income. If the thing you disagree on isn’t in any way connected to your mission statement, perhaps it’s not worth fighting over.
2. Be flexible in conversation:
Engage in conversations with an open mind; your mate’s opinion or perspective may just be more logical or realistic than yours.
3. Seek to understand then seek to be understood:
If you understand your mate’s perspective you’ll have a better chance of helping them to understand yours.