Death by Lack of Communication
by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I saw a comic that perfectly depicted marital disharmony. It showed a man in the driveway washing a car. His thought bubble read, “Wait ’til the wife sees this, she’s going to be so proud of me.” From the widow, the wife was fuming as she watched her husband, and her thought bubble read, “He loves that car more than me! When he gets inside, boy, is he gonna get it!” Before you get judgmental with the wife, remember, we don’t know why she has a negative view of her spouse. All we know is something bad is getting ready to go down.
Anyone married can relate to that comic. We’ve all had times when we are minding our own business and BAM, we get blindsided by something crazy. While that stuff is a normal part of marriage, what we do with those events can make us or break us. Do we choose to forgive and move on, or do we secretly store up the event and let it fester?
When I see couples for marriage counseling, I try to speak to them individually, as well. When I do, I usually discover deep-seated resentments that pre-date whatever brought them to counseling. Once those resentments took root in their hearts, they became mucky yucky lenses that warped the way they saw their spouses.
The woman in the comic likely has a heart scarred by rejection, which clouds her view of her husband. When he comes in after washing the car, he is expecting love and praise. Instead, he will be greeted with either stony silence or aggression. Either way, he won’t know what hit him, because his motives were pure. With proper communication, they will work through it, which will help heal her heart and restore her view of him. Sadly, that is unlikely, because most couples struggle in their communication.
Emmerson Eggerichs, the author of Love and Respect, says women confront their husbands to connect with them. If the woman in the comic blasts her husband for his “error,” it is to re-establish the emotional connection. The problem is, while a woman confronts to connect, men retreat to protect. In other words, to avoid ugly confrontation, men withdraw for fear of saying something hurtful. They were created to be warriors and protectors, so they know how to do battle. They don’t want to unleash those skills on the woman they love. As you can see, this leaves couples at a point of perpetual disconnect.
With approximately 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, I think it’s time for us to admit we have a problem. In my practice, I see God save marriages I believed beyond repair, and it’s glorious. But I also see marriages I felt could have been easily salvaged go on to divorce court, and every one of them for the same reason: Death by Lack of Communication.
Next week I am going to give you some communication tips to help ensure that epitaph doesn’t end up on your marital tombstone. Remember, we are created in the image of God, and when God created life, His mouth was involved. He didn’t just think the world into existence, so we can’t just think ourselves into a better marriage. Until then, get with God and ask Him to help heal any deep-seated muck and guck stored in your heart, so you don’t become the wife in the window.