Let’s play a game. If you found yourself in a crowded public place and began to ask strangers what they felt the most important factor of a marriage was…what do you think they would say?
Love? Trust? Honesty? Of course, these are all important. But one factor that seems to be talked about much less is communication (ironic, right?). The way a married couple discusses their issues, or if they discuss anything at all, is crucial to a sustained and fulfilling marriage.
Communication is the vehicle through which all other important parts of marriage are performed. If you love someone, but you don’t use your words and your actions to communicate it, you’re not doing right by your partner. If you trust someone, let them know. Communicate it to them. If you can communicate honestly, your marriage has a good chance of being happy and healthy.
Communication is the cornerstone of any and every long and loving marriage. The problem is that some people just aren’t good at it. Let’s take some time to understand it’s importance and see what forms of communication will create the atmosphere of a strong and caring marriage.
Communication as a cornerstone
Love, trust, honesty, and every other important characteristic of a strong marriage aren’t meaningful in themselves. It is the expression of these things that produces a marriage worth envying. Showing that love, showcasing your trust, and acting honestly is where the magic is. Being able to communicate how much your wife or husband means to you is where your marriage goes from good to great.
Communication is more than just speaking, though. There is verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and physical acts that can be placed under the umbrella of communication.
Everyone likes to hear that they look nice. Everyone likes to hear that they are loved. Verbal communication, being able to express how you feel to your spouse through the words that you speak, is essential to effective communication.
If you love someone with all of your heart, but you don’t say it enough, the other person may never understand just how deeply they are loved. If you appreciate your spouse, but never speak up about it, that appreciation holds less value. Being able to tell your spouse how wonderful they are will make them feel loved, appreciated, and in touch with how you feel.
Along with expressions of pleasure, you have to be able to speak up about what you’re not happy with. If your spouse is doing something that bothers you to your core, but you’re silent on the subject, your lack of communication will only allow the action to continue. You can’t go through life with your wife or husband holding all of your dissatisfaction inside. Letting it out is necessary and healthy for your relationship. This should be done in a tactful and warm manner, but don’t wait until it’s too late to say something that you need to.
We’ve all said something to a friend, family member, or spouse that was met with a unpleasant facial expression. That person didn’t have to say a word, but they told a story with their face. It’s not just facial expressions, either. Us humans say a lot more with our bodies than we give ourselves credit for.
Be aware of how your body language is communicating to your partner. If you’re hunched over and closed off while trying to have an important conversation, your partner will subconsciously will feel that lack of vulnerability. Face your husband or wife and keep your body language open when having difficult conversations. No leg crossing. No arm crossing. Your body should show your spouse that you are open to hearing what they have to say and are willing to work through it.
There are plenty of nonverbal cues similar to a closed off posture that are communicating either negatively or positively to your partner without any words being exchanged. Be more conscious and thoughtful about how your body expresses your feelings.
Making dinner. Going to the grocery store. Taking out the garbage. Going on an ice cream run for your pregnant wife.
All of these aren’t things that you say; they are things that you do that show your spouse that you care about them. In doing these small and thoughtful acts, you are communicating your love for them without saying much at all.
The phrase “actions speak louder than words” fits appropriately with this form of communication. You could tell your wife you love her until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t resonate as much as cleaning the house or changing the oil in her car. You could shower your husband with compliments, but making dinner for him may be even more powerful of an “I love you”.
Communication is essential to any successful marriage, but you can’t rely on just one of the three ways listed above. It will take a good balance of the trio to show your spouse how much they mean to you as time passes.
Tell your spouse what you love about them, but also don’t be afraid to voice your opinion if something is bothering you. That open and honest verbal communication will become an investment with a vast return as the years go by.
Show your spouse, through your body language, that you are being honest and open with them. Closing yourself off, covering your mouth when you speak, and making negative facial expressions are red flags to the observant eye. Be conscious of what your body is saying, and make the proper adjustments so that your wife or husband knows that you’re being genuine.
Use your actions to communicate your love, trust, and honesty with your partner. Buy them a thoughtful gift, give them a massage, or help them with a troubling task. Words don’t have to be spoken; your actions will speak for themselves.
Communicate early and often in your marriage. Make it an intentional practice between the two of you. Without open and genuine communication, your marriage will meet more obstacles than otherwise.