How To Get Your Spouse To Listen

The number one problem in marriages today is communication breakdown.  “We’re on different wavelengths.  I don’t understand him/her!  How can I get him/her to listen to me?”  The Bible says that communication is not automatic.  It is a skill that must be developed.  The Bible teaches that there is a way of speaking — if you learn to speak in a certain way, you can be guaranteed that the person you’re talking to will listen.  You can apply this whether you’re married or not.  At work, at school, making a presentation. A wise saying from Proverbs 15:2 (ESV) says, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.

Pick The Right Time To Communicate

The first rule of communication is “Do it at the right time.”  You can have a great message, but at the wrong time, and it will fall flat on ears that don’t hear it.  You’ve got to time your message.  Time not when they’re tired, they’re frustrated, ready to go to bed. You don’t drop a bomb on your husband or your wife just as you’re getting into bed or walking out the door.  You don’t do it when they’re in a hurry and under pressure.  You wait until the time is right.  You may be ready to talk but are they ready?  Maybe you’ve been at home all day, stewing and spewing, thinking the thing through, but your mate has been out all day.  They come home with a whole different set of stresses and problems.  If the first thing they hear when they walk in the door is, “We’ve got a problem.”  They may walk back out.  You have got to choose the right time.

Think About What You Are Going To Say

Don’t just shoot from the hip and speak off the cuff.  If you don’t really think it out when you have a major issue to deal with and haven’t thought it through first prayerfully, then you’re not going to have the impact that you would if you plan. Planning produces persuasion.  Think before you speak.

Start with Your Spouse’s Needs

You can threaten your spouse and you’ll get their attention.  But that’s not a legitimate way in a loving relationship.  You can be unique — dye your hair purple and be dressed all funny — and they’d probably notice you.  But that’s not a legitimate way either.  But if you start with what they value, what their needs are, what their goals are, you have a built in audience because the message gets through the filter that God has placed in our minds.

Communication flows when you show interest in their needs, their goals, their hurts, their interests. Communication is blocked when all you care about is your own needs. Start with their needs, their agenda.

Before You Talk, Do Everyone A Favor – Listen

Have you ever been so anxious to make a point that you had absolutely no idea what the other person just said?  You get so caught up in making your point that you’re not listening at all. You’re only thinking about what you’re going to say next.  Listen before you answer.  If you don’t you’re being stupid and insulting.

The problem is the longer you’re married the more assumptions you make. You think you’ve heard it all before so you check out. But you haven’t.

Say What You Need To Say In A Positive Way

The most positive speaker is the most persuasive speaker.  It’s a mark of maturity and understanding.  Any fool can be a critic.  They make monuments to people who are criticized all of their lives.  But you’ve never seen a monument to a critic.  Anybody can do it.  Anybody can see the bad in something.  The more persuasive you want to be the more pleasant you need to be. Labeling doesn’t work.  It simply reinforces what’s happening. Nagging doesn’t work.  Judging doesn’t work.  A positive approach persuades.  Say it positively.


You are probably thinking, “This is too much trouble.”  It’s worth it.  The prize is worth the price.  You need to do these steps. When you’ve got a big issue that is not being resolved, then you pull this blogpost out and think the thing through, plan it, work on it, decide how to deal with it in the spirit of respect and love.  End with an encouraging word.

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