Just the other day, I decided to “communicate” my displeasure with something my husband had said earlier to me by using sarcasm to strike back at him. Honestly, I thought it would get my message across in a “funny” way. After all, everybody loves a comic, right? I guess I have this idea that using humor actually cushions the blow.
Although my communication style in that moment—using sarcasm—wasn’t healthy or constructive, it also wasn’t the root of my problem. (Nothing like psychoanalyzing myself! Ahhh, the neurotic life of a counselor! ha!)
The real problem with communication—and what makes it especially messy—is that speaking a message to our spouse is only a small part of the equation. We also communicate a message to ourselves about our spouse.
Earlier, when my husband had said something critical to me, I told myself several things:
- I don’t deserve this kind of treatment
- He doesn’t deserve my kindness or patience
- He doesn’t understand me
- He doesn’t really love me
- He needs me to set him straight!
I don’t know if this is all that I told myself, but it demonstrates the kind of fuel I was adding to a communication bonfire of sorts. And this “bonfire” is not the kind of glowing amusement you want s-more of! (oops! Sorry for the lousy shtick!)
In all seriousness, this communication concoction of feelings, words, hidden agendas, and smoldering resentments is bound to burn the recipient, AKA our spouses.
I know it did mine.
And I have a renewed motivation to, first of all, become aware of what I’m communicating to myself about my husband, especially in times of conflict or hurt. And secondly, I’m committed to challenging my negative inner voice with God’s truth.
So, how will I do that second one? I will ask God, in the heat of the moment, to open my eyes to the lies I’m embracing. I will ask God to renew my compassion and patience with my husband. I will take steps to forgive my husband and not let my lingering anger fester into fiery darts that I throw at him.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, it says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” I love that terminology—”take captive.” So that’s exactly what I intend to do …
Will you join me in “taking captive” every thought and communication?
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Worthy Bible Studies