We all have rough times. If you are married and your marriage hasn’t yet experienced difficult times, it will eventually. For any of you who know me or have visited my personal blog, you may already understand the difficult time my own marriage has experienced. In 2011, the relationship was under a great deal of strain due to the loss of one of our twins about 7 hours and 13 minutes after birth. Our daughter had been diagnosed with anencephaly, a neural tube defect, at about 16 weeks gestation. Anencephaly is always fatal, so we knew we wouldn’t have long with her.
Because of our loss, we’ve been forced into a “club” that no one wants to join. We are “baby loss parents.” We have two boys on earth, and a girl in Heaven. Since becoming a member of the baby loss club, I’ve learned how common it is for the loss of a child to lead to the end of a marriage. It seems very often that one or both individuals are afraid to acknowledge the pain, which leads to bitterness. The bitterness masks the pain and eats away at the marriage until it’s no longer strong enough to stand.
When Aaron and I began life as a couple (after knowing one another for a good 15 years), I recognized and appreciated his ability to communicate. But, even though we both had relatively decent communication skills when we began together, we had plenty of room to grow and continue to do so. I had trouble feeling open enough to express myself early on but did better with writing, so I’d write. I remember one time, he asked me if I was okay about something, then added, “I’m not going to get an email about it when I get home, am I?” As time went on, we continued to build trust and our communication improved. It has proven to be a very useful and vital skill for our marriage to survive. As we’ve endured the storms we’ve faced, I am very thankful that we’ve managed to keep an open line of communication about what we were thinking and feeling. It’s not always easy, and we’re not always perfect at it, but we keep working on it.
Every relationship has its storms. Some are bigger than others, but they will come. Communication is essential. A marriage requires that its members communicate about their thoughts and feelings.
- Share with one another what emotions were behind the anger (hurt, disappointed, scared, frustrated, etc.) or came along with the happy (excited, loved, content, appreciated, etc.).
- Help one another identify the thoughts that led to hurt feelings and talk out your plan of action to address a difficult situation.
- If you don’t express your emotion in some form, you will begin to experience unhealthy symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and anger. These symptoms can add strain to a marriage in addition to the original stressors. Remember, a marriage is a team, and teams can’t function without communication.
- Above all, PRAY together. Remind one another who God is. Communicate your needs and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Regardless of what storm you are facing, God still loves you and has a plan for you. He’s not toying with you for His own amusement because He IS Love and Love isn’t selfish. He WANTS marriage to succeed.
If you had to rate the communication in your marriage on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best…how would your communication rate?