Investing In Your Marriage (part 2)
We invest in retirement, in savings, in our careers and in our children, but we often don’t put nearly the same emphasis on our marriage. After our relationship with God, our marriages should be the most important relationship in our lives. Your marriage deserves real investment. The first investment Thomas and I make in our marriage is time. The second is investment is in communication.
In order to invest communication into your marriage you must be open to sharing your feelings. You only get out of a financial investment what you put into it, the same is true of communicating. You have to give. This means becoming vulnerable. Letting someone else into the inner most parts of your heart can be intimidating, but it will result in a deeper more satisfying relationship for both of you. Talking about the things you think about, the things you feel, your likes and dislikes, your good and bad memories, and your dreams will ultimately lead to that closeness all human beings desire so strongly. As you share who you are you, you invite your spouse to know you in a personal way. You also allow them to have an opportunity to love you in a way that no one else can. You show your spouse he is the one person whom you trust enough to tell your secrets.
Good communication is a two-way street. You cannot be the only one talking. You must purposefully take time to stop talking and start listening. As your spouse is sharing with you, be present. Pay attention. Ignore distractions. Do not plan what you will say while he is speaking, only listen. If you accidentally stop paying attention, admit it and ask for him to repeat what you missed. Listening and paying attention to your spouse’s feelings, thoughts and dreams is a vital investment in your marriage. You will not have a healthy relationship unless you invest with your listening.
A third part of communication is reacting appropriately. As you are listening to your mate share, you must show that you are listening by reacting to what you are hearing. Nodding, smiling when cheerful news is being shared, showing and matching emotion, and repeating important things that he says. Affirming your spouse’s feelings is part of reacting appropriately. Your husband is looking for confirmation that you are on his side and that you understand where he is coming from. I am not saying to lie if you don’t agree with or understand what he is telling you. I am encouraging you to always show that you understand his feelings, not necessarily agree with everything that he is saying. Not overreacting is a very important part of communication. Your spouse must know you will not condemn him for his thoughts and feelings. If you do, he will never share with you again, because you will have proven yourself an untrustworthy listener. You may have to advise him to get help or counseling if need be.
Communication is a worth while investment in your marriage and will result in a deep loving relationship.