If someone asks you what matters most in marital relationships, you will probably say, “Love,” “Trust,” “Faithfulness,” “Finance,” “Intimacy,” and so on. All these are true and have their own importance.
But what about “communication?” Failure in many a marriage can be traced to lack of proper communication:
It is not just about avoiding conflicts.
Instead, it is about using them creatively to bond deeply together again.
It is not just about enduring silently.
Instead, it is more about opening up, sharing and enjoying the process of doing so.
It is not just hit and miss style of communication.
Instead, it is about learning to speak meaningfully, listen sympathetically and respond empathetically.
Words of genuine appreciation go a long way in ensuring a healthy relationship. But the reality is that these words dry up after a few months of marriage. From then on most good deeds are taken for granted. They are never appreciated. This takes away from marriage and saps its strength.
The first step to restore the strength in marriage is not to take your partner for granted. Of course familiarity can cause one to forget the painstaking toil that goes into maintaining routines. But a good husband or wife does not feel that good things happen automatically. They tend to appreciate the effort behind it on a regular basis.
Secondly, learn to be observant. Most disappointments begin when the partner fails to observe what the other had lovingly prepared or arranged. This neglect can be devastating at times. Especially when there is great expectation that the husband or wife would feel happy when he or she will take note of what has been done.
But when that expectation is killed mercilessly due to indifference, or lack of sensitivity, or even a busy schedule, the negative impact can be crushing. So ask yourself the question, “What’s new or different today?” That will help you not to miss key things.
Thirdly, learn to specifically mention why you like it. Most often the husband or wife is not satisfied with general comments like, “It looks good” or “I wanted this for a long time.” What they need to know and be appreciated is about exactly what is good about it.
For example, something like, “That flower vase you’ve arranged today gives the room a dignified decor.” Or, “So nice of you to have sensed that I wanted this `blue and pink flowers on white’ for a long time.” Such specific comments spice the appreciation well.
Of course sincere words go a long way in strengthening relationships. Words of appreciation should reflect a heart that means what it says. Otherwise it will sound like a howling wind whistling through an abandoned house.
“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply– and how good is a timely word” (Proverbs 15:23)!
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