As soon as the snarky comment came out of my mouth, I knew I shouldn't have said it. The look on my husband's face revealed a mixture of hurt and surprise, and I immediately tried to retract my words. However, the damage was already done. Weeks of worry over a financial situation had mounted with little conversation about the subject. We'd exchanged a few words before I headed out the door for an appointment, and I thought we had a mutual understanding. It turned out we didn't.
When it comes to relationships, assuming the other person knows your thoughts only leads to frustration and disappointment. Once I realized we weren't on the same page, instead of finding time to discuss the matter and reach an agreement on the path we should take, I let my anxiety mount until it came spewing out of my mouth. As I stood in the kitchen regretting my words, I realized the need for us to be intentional. I saw the necessity to communicate with my husband instead of just thinking about it.
Over the course of our marriage, I've learned that arguments will inevitably happen. However, through the struggles God has revealed several ways for us to maintain a healthy level of communication and understanding.
1. Talk to your spouse instead of worrying about the issue.
Many times we worry about a problem much more than actually talking to our spouse about it. Our mind runs outside the grace of God into the unknown, where we have no control over the situation or the outcome. Worry gives the illusion of the control where there is none. Not only does it not accomplish anything, but it also creates anxiety, which often could be alleviated by discussing the subject in a calm environment.
Jesus summarizes worry's ineffectiveness when he asks, "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" (Matthew 6:27 NLT). If you are worried about something that has not been addressed with your spouse, it is time to have a conversation about it.
2. Choose an appropriate time to have the conversation, when both parties are unrushed.
If we are trying to talk to our spouse while the kids are bickering or one of us is rushing out the door, nothing is going to be resolved. It is critical for us to find a time when the house or environment will be quiet enough for us both to be heard and have time to say what needs to be said.