When we learn to put our spouse’s needs ahead of our own, we will discover the beginnings of healthy communication in a marriage.
You may wonder what putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your own has to do with healthy communication. Believe it or not, a lot.
Think back to the last argument you had with your spouse. What did you disagree about? Why did you disagree? Usually, arguments and fights occur because two people have two very different ideas. They both “stick to their guns” and don’t want to change their opinion and resist compromise.
Refusing to cooperate and negotiate is nothing more than hanging on to your selfish desires.
James 4:2 tells us, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.”
When you stand firm on your beliefs that don’t gel with those of your spouse, you are bound to struggle in your communication efforts, and most likely, in your marriage relationship.
Ephesians 5: 21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Submission means putting someone ahead of you – thinking about their needs instead of your own.
We should all strive to be like Jesus in our Christian walk. Matthew 20:28 says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”.
Jesus did not expect others to take care of his every desire and every need. He lived a humble life serving others, spreading the truth. That is also our sole purpose on this earth. We can’t do that if we’re busy worrying about what we want and need, and sacrificing the needs of others to get what we want. We should be “crucified with Christ” to give up our selfish desires.
As for communication, we will never reach the heights of optimum communication in a marriage as long as our “self” is in the way and as long as we ignore the needs of our spouse.
Marriage is a sacred joining of two people to become one. You have to learn to think as one. Of course there will be disagreements, but it is necessary to take into consideration the needs of your spouse in order to come to a compromise. When they, in turn, allow your needs to take precedence over their own, you will find a common ground of peace and harmony that creates healthy communication.
For example, Sue has a tendency to overspend and her husband, Bill, is very thrifty and worries about their financial future. Sue went out on a $500.00 shopping spree and neglected to tell Bill. He found out via a credit card bill. They got in a terrible fight. Sue insisted that she needed everything she bought and got angrier and angrier as Bill gave her the “finances speech.” They didn’t talk to each other for days.
Sue needs to take into consideration Bill’s concern for their finances, regardless of how ridiculous she thinks he acts. To ease his mind and take care of his need, she should watch her spending habits. Bill needs to understand that Sue may have some issues causing her to shop excessively. Instead of getting upset over her problem, he needs to help her find a solution for her spending - help her fill a need that’s obviously missing.
We all have our own little quirks and issues that often seem crazy to our spouse. Silly as they may be, they are real to us. The more you get to know your spouse and the more you understand how they “tick,” the more you can learn to empathize with those issues and make the necessary changes to break the cycle of quarreling you may have fallen in.