This week on By His Grace Podcast author Charity Bradshaw and I talk about the importance of communication in marriage. Communication or lack of communication is one of the biggest problems that affect couples today. So excited to introduce you to Charity and Ted Bradshaw! Their new book Staying I Do: Committed, Connected & Crazy in Love for a Lifetime is available for pre-order now and launches March 5, 2019.
Today Charity challenges wives to clearly communicate with their husbands. Please welcome Charity Bradshaw to the blog today.
Communicating in a Way Your Husband Can Understand
by Charity Bradshaw
Movies, sitcoms, books and magazines have conditioned us to believe that husbands can read our minds. “How to give him ‘THE LOOK’ that says it all” and other ridiculous headlines convince us that nothing needs to come out of our mouths in order for them to know what’s on our mind. FALSE.
“Charity, that’s #obvi.”
Tell me you’ve never:
- thought your husband would put away the dishes without having to be asked after you had a really long day?
- waited to see if he would notice and comment when you come out of the bathroom with your hair and makeup done?
- craved his affection but made yourself wait until it came from his own initiative?
It couldn’t have been because he wasn’t picking up what you were putting down in your thoughts, was it? Of course, not. It’s because he’s a mind-reader and knew what you wanted but didn’t do it anyway, right? No!
Laides, here’s the truth: Men are not as complicated as we are. Many men successfully and joyfully live in the now, focusing on one task at a time, one thought at a time. While that beautiful simplicity sometimes makes me jealous (because it seems so serene), it can also be a point of frustration.
If I don’t intentionally remember how my husband is wired, I may actually get mad at him for something I thought he should do (but never mentioned out loud) that he didn’t end up doing. I know, I’m the only one. This idea of mind-reading is a God-sized expectation we put on our ever-so-human spouse. Sure, there may be times after years of knowing you that your husband can predict your needs or desires, but in the here and now, we need to function in a way that builds a marriage that thrives.This ‘unspoken’ habit can wear down a relationship if not reversed. Click To Tweet
(Spoiler Alert: It is totally fixable and avoidable.)
Let’s start with the fact that husbands can only address things they are AWARE OF and REMEMBER.
Let me give you an example. I love when my husband writes me notes or letters. I am a ‘words of affirmation’ gal and enjoy reading and rereading his writings to me often. While we were dating, I told him about my love for letters and he acknowledged it. He did mention it was out of his wheelhouse but was willing to do it because he knew how much it meant to me.
Fast forward several months into our marriage and I noticed the note-writing had slowed down. I had two choices: become resentful, crunchy and bitter from not receiving letters, OR remind him that I would love for him to write to me and give him room to meet that desire. He’s not forgetting on purpose, it’s just not always front of mind when I would like one.
Pride convinces us to deny ourselves the love and affection we desire. It tells us to hold out, keep quiet and wait for it, all the while fueling the anger from unmet expectations within us.
Friends, this is a vicious cycle. It is self-destruction masked as an offense committed against us.
Humility, however, allows us to love ourselves enough to acknowledge and validate our need, as well as ask our spouse for it. I did (and continue to) let my husband know what my need is and how I would like for him to meet it.
One of the things my husband loves most about me is that he always knows where he stands with me. He trusts that I will let him know if one of my love-tanks is running low or empty. He knows that I will include him in what I’m thinking by sharing it with him.
Some of us get hung up on to the part of that quote, “…and if necessary, use words.” The words that come out of our mouth give us the best chance of getting our point across. If you have been withholding yourself by not communicating your needs or desires with your husband and then found yourself mad at him because he wasn’t reading your mind, I encourage you to set this record straight.
First, apologize. Tell him what’s been going on and perhaps it will explain why he’s been feeling you were on edge lately. Promise to work on using words, not brainwaves, to communicate openly and honestly with him. Help him build trust in you that he will always know where he stands with you.
This is really a gift to yourself.
The enemy would like nothing more than to destroy the witness or testimony of your marriage. Personally, I am fan of the “a good offense is a good offense” strategy. Don’t wait for trouble to find your marriage, then simply try to fix it.
Use your words, now.
Open, honest (and audible) communication is the ounce of prevention that renders nearly all problems that could test a marriage, powerless.Open, honest (and audible) communication is the ounce of prevention that renders nearly all problems that could test a marriage, powerless. Click To Tweet
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV