Monday, November 4, 2013

Marriage Monday: Communicating during a Crisis {Link up}

Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I hope you are enjoying my series of posts on how to maintain your marriage during a crisis. There are many types of crises that couples might encounter as they navigate the storms of life together.  Many times these trials tear marriages apart, as couples lash out at each other instead of clinging to one another and to the Lord during troubled times.  My hope is that this series will encourage you to hold fast to the Lord and to your husband during the good times and the bad.

To read last week's post, featuring the poignant story of a young wife who knew the secret for making the best out of a difficult situation, click HERE.

Today I want to talk about communication during a crisis.  Effective communication poses a challenge for most couples even during the good times, but the need for communication and problems with it are greatly magnified during times of trials.

From my own experience and "clinical observations" of eleven "randomly selected participants" (my own husband and children!), I have come to the conclusion that people tend to respond in one of two ways during a crisis:

  1. They Clam Up and become very introspective and reclusive, not wanting to talk about their feelings, and perhaps not wanting to talk about anything at all.
  2. They Carry On about their trial, talking through every facet of it and exploring it from every angle until they've talked the thing to death.

Most people appear to camp out on one side or the other; however, some people appear to be a combination of these two extremes . . . clamming up until they are ready to talk, and then spilling their guts for hours while you listen and help them work through their thoughts and feelings. (Such a person will never share with you on your timetable! When they are ready to open up, you have to be ready to drop everything and listen!  Such a moment can not be rescheduled to your earliest convenience!)

My theory is that these opposite responses can create conflicts and compound the stress that a couple feels during a time when they are already stretched to the max.  Understanding the way your spouse (and children) tend to communicate and respond to a crisis can at least help you understand them and their need for silence or soliloquy.

The person who tends to clam up and wallow in his introspection causes his spouse to feel shut out and alone and unable to penetrate the deafening walls of silence that he has erected. On the other hand, the person who talks through every tiny detail of the trial for days or weeks, hashing and rehashing painful facts and feelings, can wear out his spouse and may create walls of words that are equally alienating.

The person who swings from one extreme to the other "when the mood strikes" may end up feeling frustrated if his spouse is not ready to listen when he is ready to talk.  Of course, this scenario is equally frustrating for the spouse who is waiting for his/her loved one to open up and share!

Time for communication may already be extremely limited during a trying time, and is especially crucial to maintaining a marriage during a crisis!  So, it is essential for couples to learn to push past their individual comfort zones and attempt to communicate in a way that not only meets their own needs, but also draws in their spouses, making them feel valued and included in the process of navigating through the storm.

Your Turn to Share:

I'd love to hear how you and your husband have learned to communicate effectively during both good times and bad.  Do you tend to be the type that clams up or that spills out during a trial?  How about your husband?  How have you learned to overcome barriers to communication?

I've been receiving emails from many readers who are being blessed by this series and who have a story of how their marriage survived a time of great testing. Do you have such a story? I encourage you to share from your heart by leaving a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at to share your testimony/potential guest post.

If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!

Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!

marriage mondays

Blogs I link up with from week to week:

What Joy Is Mine

Happy Wives Club


The Alabaster Jar

Courtship Connection

I Choose Joy!


Messy Marriage

Wifey Wednesday button

Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post. Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name! Thanks! :)


Cheryl said...

I SO enjoyed your post today! It was so accurate and on target. My husband and I have gone through some very fiery furnaces over the past three years, and one of the things we have determined to do is to pull together, never apart. Much of that "pulling" has been through the times we have spent talking to each other. Dropping whatever else was going on, looking each other in the eye, and really listening. I think "distracted listening" is very detrimental, especially when the other person really needs to pour out their heart. Trying to conduct effective communication while holding a cell phone in one hand, continual interruptions from text messages, etc., actually does more damage than good. It sends the message to our spouse or child that they are somewhat important, but not quite as important as the one(s) trying to communicate through our phone. Oh, may God grant us all the wisdom we need in guarding these precious relationships! We only pass through one time, and our children grow up so quickly. Each one of them are different and must be handled differently. Only God knows what we need in every scenario. May our hearts turn often toward Him for the guidance and method we need. Thank you for the wonderful link-up and post. You are a dear blessing! Love, Cheryl

Beth said...

With your mom's recent illness, I'm sure you have experienced the challenges of communication in a stressful time, Elizabeth. And what you've pointed out is so true! I'm glad you've reminded us of the importance of keeping those lines of communication open, yet not rehashing the details over and over ad nauseum! I think when we tend towards either extreme, bringing in a good Christian counselor or mentor can help untangle what seems to have gotten in a "knot." And thanks so much for your wisdom end encouragement here, Elizabeth!

Jenifer Metzger said...

Great post! It can be easy to become angry and lash out or even to bottle it up when challenges come. We need to communicate!

Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless.

Mel Caldicott said...

My husband and I tend to deal with things differently which is fine when one of us is struggling with some kind of problem. But when we are both going through something together it can be more difficult to find a way that supports each other when we need it. I find that the support of close friends or family can minister to us as a couple greatly at these times.
Thanks so much for sharing at Essential Fridays.

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