Do you feel like you and your spouse just cannot get through to each other? Or as if you are speaking different languages? Do you often feel unheard or misunderstood? Are you battling with a silent spouse, one who withdraws or avoids conflict, or even the opposite – one who just seems to push all your buttons?

Perhaps there are certain important conversations that you just don’t feel that you can have anymore with your spouse without tempers flaring or the relationship deteriorating. These are all signs that communication in your marriage is under strain and needs urgent attention.

In this article, we will look at communication in marriage from a biblical perspective, learn what underlying beliefs may be contributing to the problem of communication, and discover practical ways to improve it.

A deeper look at communication.

Although we often try to deal with it separately, communication is not a standalone entity. Nor is improving it simply about better techniques and habits, as useful as these may be. There are at least three major underlying drivers to consider when evaluating our communication in marriage: the quality of our individual relationships with God, who we think our spouse belongs to, and the desires of our hearts.

The quality of our relationships with God.

At the most basic level, the quality of our relationships with others reflects the quality of our relationship with God. The Bible teaches us this link in passages such as Matthew 22:36-40 (quoted below), Romans 13:8-10, and James 2:1-13, for example.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40, NIV

The second commandment is the outworking of the first. It is a way we can check if our love for God is indeed genuine. If we love God with our whole selves, we will love others well. However, if we do not love God and walk closely with Him, our personal desires and the way we relate to others become selfish. This shows up in communication struggles and in other areas of our marriage such as conflict resolution, quality time, and intimacy.

The closer a husband and wife are to God, the closer they will be to each other, and the better communication will be. How would you rate the quality of your relationship with God? What about your spouse’s relationship with God?

Who we think our spouse belongs to.

Flowing from our relationship with God is how we view our partner. Who do you think your spouse belongs to: you or God?

If you love God with your whole self, your basic attitude toward your spouse will be honoring. You will value them as created in the image of God and belonging to Him. If you are not fully committed to loving God from the heart, your spouse then becomes the means to satisfy your desires and “justifies” your manipulation of them.

The desires of our hearts.

God’s word also shows us that how we communicate is a reflection of our hearts and what we love or value. In Luke chapter 6, we read that:

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.Luke 6:45, NLT

This means that the deep desires of our hearts are a major driver of our communication in marriage.

Think about a time when you and your spouse were trying to communicate, and the conversation broke down or spiraled out of control. What did you want or fear? What did your spouse want or fear? For clues, it can help to examine the types of emotions you might have been feeling:

  • We feel angry when something we love is threatened.
  • We feel sad when something we love is lost.
  • We feel jealous when someone else has what we love.
  • We feel happy when something we love is secure.

What light do your emotions shed on what you loved or valued during that communication?

Next, consider:

  • What does God say about your desires or fears?
  • What does He say about the way we should express godly desires?
  • Where do you need to repent and seek forgiveness?

Ask His help in aligning what you love and want with what He loves and wants.

Improving communication in marriage.

The goal of communication in marriage is for each partner to be able to accurately reveal themselves and understand the other. For this to occur, communication needs to be honest, clear, and frequent. Once you have carefully looked at the main drivers underlying communication and made appropriate changes in your life, there are several biblical and practical ways to improve communication in marriage:

Strive to be honest.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.Ephesians 4:25, NIV

As members of one body – and “one flesh”, in the case of marriage – honesty is of central importance to its healthy functioning. God knows our inmost thoughts and we are not rejected, so we should extend this grace to our spouse.

We are safely anchored in the Lord’s love, even if not always in our spouse’s love. Therefore, we don’t need to be afraid to be vulnerable. Be careful how you deliver your honesty. The goal is to build up, not tear down, your spouse.

A part of honesty is being clear in your communication. Make sure your tone and body language align with your words. Don’t give mixed messages, drop hints, or use passive-aggressive techniques. Honesty means communicating what you mean, both verbally and non-verbally.

Listen carefully before trying to problem-solve.

Spouses should seek to listen, understand, and enter into each other’s experience. Rushing to solve the problem can make someone feel invalidated, incompetent, or misunderstood. This has serious consequences for the relationship. Love means we are genuinely concerned for our spouse, without insisting that they see things the same way we do.

Share each other’s emotions..

Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.Romans 12:15, ESV

Jesus came into our world and shared our experiences. He knows and shares in our emotions. This helps us trust him and draw near to him. The same process works in marriage. Make an effort to help your spouse understand your feelings and seek to understand theirs.

Choose your words carefully.

Finally, the words we choose matter, as well as how we deliver them. In his book Gospel-Centered Marriage Counseling, author Robert Kellemen notes four principles of communication from Ephesians 4:25-32:

  • Speak truthful words with love (4:25)
  • Speak controlled words with patience (4:26-27)
  • Speak encouraging words with wisdom (4:29-30)
  • Speak gracious words with humility (4:31-32)

Seeking professional help.

Sometimes the communication in our marriage can feel too broken or overwhelming to deal with on our own. Perhaps significant things have happened in your marriage such as infidelity, loss, or a financial reversal, and it feels impossible to deal with communication before dealing with these issues first.

In this case, please consider counseling sessions with a trained biblical marriage counselor. Contact us today to make an appointment with a counselor and look forward to seeing a new light dawn in your marriage.

“Holding Hands”, Courtesy of Brooke Cagle,, CC0 License; “Morning Prayer”, Courtesy of Getty Images,, Unsplash+ License; “Counseling”, Courtesy of Getty Images,, Unsplash+ License; “Difficult Roads”, Courtesy of Hello I’m Nik,, CC0 License;