10 Steps to Better Communication in Marriage: The (Almost) Happily Ever After
This week, Guest Blogger Cassie Wilson opens up about the hard work of marriage. She offers some incredible tools for better communication in marriage. If you're not married, though, don't stop here! Most of Cassie's tools are incredible for communication with friends, co-workers, and family members, and they give us beautiful insight into God's heart for our relationships, as well.
Cassie has been married to her high school sweetheart for eleven years. She is mom to two beautiful girls, Isabella (6) and Abigail (4), and is foster mom to sweet baby Aidan (1).
Through many challenges, from cancer to life-threatening allergies to the disappointments in the pursuit of adoption, it is Cassie's desire to use the biblical model of the Proverbs 31 woman in running her home. She prays that we will all see God's incredible grace interwoven throughout her family's story...
Our (Almost) Happily Ever After
by Cassie Wilson
I grew up admiring characters from movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. Those enchanting stories where the beautiful teenage princess lands the handsome prince and they run off into their happily ever after. I assumed that marriage must be similar, and that once I found the perfect guy we would create our own romantic fairy tale ending.
Unfortunately, time and experience have taught me otherwise...
I met my husband in the spring of 2000. I was a junior and he was a senior at Wayne Central High School. We were both part of concert band. He was the cute and popular drummer while I was the quiet keep-to-myself trumpet player. Our feelings for each other began on a school band trip to Annapolis when we were some of the only upperclassmen riding the same Greyhound bus.
What started out as innocent flirting developed into something much deeper very quickly.
As children, Dave and I both grew up in loving homes surrounded by incredible and supportive families. Both of our parents have now been married for 35+ years and we have close friendships with all our siblings. While our childhood homes were similar, Dave and I were vastly different from each other. Dave was a self-proclaimed atheist, while I grew up a pastor’s kid and accepted Christ for myself at the tender age of five.
As our relationship grew, those closest to me began to fear that I would be entering into an unequally yoked union, something the Bible warns us about and commands us to avoid. However, I was not willing to give up on the desire I felt to be in a relationship with my high school sweetheart. After months of praying, Dave dedicated his own life to Christ in October 2000 at a Left Behind musical put on by Word of Life students.
That moment changed everything.
Now I was truly free to love this man unconditionally and our happily ever after could officially begin.
In May 2001, while he was a freshman at RIT and I was finishing my senior year in high school, Dave romantically placed his mother’s promise ring on my finger. We dated for several years, and then in 2004, surrounded by our families and closest friends, Dave proposed at Belhurst Castle on Valentine's Day. By that November we were married.
As we dated and entered marriage, one thing became extremely obvious:
Happily ever afters are most certainly for fairytales; they do not exist in this real life, sin filled world.
Dave and I had many things to overcome. I was much more conservative in my beliefs and tried to change him on many levels. When I did not approve of his approach to Christian freedoms, I made it dramatically clear. I was trying my best to be his Holy Spirit.
While my intentions were pure, my strategy was sinful and the result was devastating.
I was (and still can be) quick to anger, fast to judge and swift to speak. I questioned his character, his faithfulness, and his authority. When I should have been building him up, I was casting him down. I was selfish and thought only of my own feelings. You see, I was the seasoned Christian in our relationship, and thought I knew what was best.
I give my husband a lot of credit. In our early years, I did not make our relationship easy. I isolated friendships that were important to him, to both of us, and became that dreaded full-of-truth (without enough grace) Christian. Yet, despite my hurtful words and jealous tendencies, he fought for me. He fought for us.
He showed more spiritual maturity in his first few years as a believer then I did after 15 years of devoting myself to following Jesus' example of love and forgiveness.
We had some painfully heated arguments. However, time has taught me an important lesson. Attacking your spouse is never fruitful and acting from emotion results in brokenness. There are a few strategies that we have set in place to help us better communicate in a kind and loving way...
10 Steps to Better Communication in Marriage
1.) Marriage is a covenant between you, your spouse and God. Divorce is not an option. Make the most of your time together. (Mark 10: 2-12)
2.) Pray, pray, pray! Anger usually dissipates, and we can see more clearly, when we are actively praying for a change in our OWN attitudes. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
3.) Attend together, serve together and worship together. Church is not an option for us, it is a requirement. A chord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
4.) Be filled with grace. Just as Jesus shows us His grace each and every time we fall down, we need to extend that same grace to our marriage. (Romans 11:6)
5.) Talk to a friend. Make sure you can be honest and transparent while maintaining confidentiality. Give that friend the freedom to give you insight and hold you accountable. (Proverbs 27:5-6)
6.) Do not feel like you have to act or respond immediately. Give yourself time. Time to digest and sort through your feelings. Time to calm down. However, be sure to always resolve the issue and never let it smolder. (Ephesians 4:26)
7.) Do not talk negatively to or about your spouse. Words can either build up or breakdown. Make a conscious choice to build up. (Colossians 4:6)
8.) Be humble. Don't shy away from apologizing. Conflict is never one-sided, you both play a part in it. (Romans 3:23)
9.) Keep in mind God's view on marriage and avoid heated discussions in front of your children. You are teaching your kids what a marriage looks like. Wives, if you do not want your daughter disrespecting her husband, then do not disrespect yours. Husbands, if you want your son to treat his wife gently, then deal gently with yours. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
10.) Continue to date and remain intimate. Dave and I try to go out, without the kids, once a month and always set time aside each week to enjoy each other’s company. (1 Corinthians 7:1-6)
Dave and I are not perfect. Our marriage is not perfect. While the happily ever after of fairytales does not exist, committing to live forever in happiness as husband and wife DOES exist.
The choice is yours.
To my best friend of 16 years, husband of 11 years, and father to our three beautiful children… I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I will love you forever! Thank you for doing life alongside of me.
Did you love this little glimpse into Cassie's life?
Just wait until you hear about her journey through her husband's cancer and as a foster mom on the To Choose Joy Podcast from the 5-Day Joy Challenge Bible Study here: