How do I improve communication in my marriage?
What is the best way to improve communication in a marriage? A lot of NFP instructors, including yours truly, say that it is to talk about mucus. Because if you can talk about mucus you can talk about anything. Mostly, I think this is something we say to help people be able to laugh about the fact that meeting with us means you will be talking about mucus A LOT. Honestly, though, I think the reason NFP improves communication is because every month you are forced to talk, again and again, about your family size. How are we doing? Do you want to be open to another baby? Is mom too exhausted to be able to think about it right now? Are finances impossible with the kids we already have? What does our life look like 9 months from now, would that be a good time for a new baby?
I hear couples all the time say that the desire of their hearts is to have a baby. Or another baby. And their spouse doesn’t know, or doesn’t care. They are content with their family size. With NFP every month you are either intentional to avoid intercourse on fertile days, or you are open to the possibility of life. Every month leading up to, or during those fertile days, you have the great gift of being intentional. And discussing your family: Where are we at? What is going on with our finances? How are the children doing? These conversations ensure that one spouse never feels alone in the desires of their heart. They are heard even if it is not the right time for you to be open to life.
When we stop sharing the desires of our hearts we stop growing as a couple. We cannot sweep this stuff under the rug and continue to grow in our marriages. Miscommunication, or not communicating at all, is a downward spiral that always leads to pain and distance. Sometimes life is busy and these conversations get put on hold but when we intentionally don’t listen to each other, or chose not to have these conversations, we shut out our spouse.
This is not to say that these conversations are easy. Sometimes it is really hard to face that he is ready for another baby, but she is overwhelmed at the thought. Or perhaps she is ready but money is too tigh. Maybe her heart is just not open to the thought, and he knows he wants more. Regardless, having a open honest conversation can go far in opening our hearts to the Lord’s will.
I realize it is very counter cultural to talk about “the Lord’s will for our family size” but I believe that is precisely what He is calling us too! Our fertility, after all, is God given! Although scientists would lead us to believe it is purely biological when a baby happens into existence those of us with a Christian world view, even Aristotle himself, believed there is another component to a human person that is not man made. A soul is breathed into being at the moment of conception, 46 unique chromosomes are formed, and this is before a woman even knows she is late for her next period. What is a new baby if not a gift from the Lord?
How do you have these difficult conversations with your spouse? Do you regret hearing and knowing each other even if you disagree?