Couple Communication 102

Stephen Covey wrote, “If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication.”

why do men stonewall?In my earlier post about Sean and Nicole and couple communication, “What, if anything, do you think Nicole was doing wrong?”

Nicole — like most people — wasn’t listening with the “intent to understand,” but had been listening with the “intent to reply.”

She hadn’t been trying to gain a deeper understanding of Sean. She filtered everything he said through her own experience, reading her autobiography into his life. As soon as Sean had started talking, she had already begun formulating a response. She hadn’t given him any space to really be in the relationship with her.

  • She didn’t understand him because she wasn’t listening.
  • She had been way too busy formulating her reply.


Use your powers of self-observation and take notice of your self-talk (what you’re thinking or saying to yourself) when others are talking.

  • Are you silently evaluating the words of your friends and coworkers … while they’re still talking?
  • If so, you’re probably evaluating his, too.


Get better at couple communication by practicing on your friends. Listen until you’re sure you understand the other person’s point of view. That is, wait until you’re sure you’ve heard the whole story before you offer your own thoughts and feelings.

To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)

Couple Communication 101

We can’t stop communicating … for one simple reason! According to Communications Experts, 93% of our communication is nonverbal. Your parents told you that a long time ago when they said: “Actions speak louder than words.”


Consider Sean and Nicole …

Nicole’s Point of View: Sean was a quiet guy. And that was one of the things that Nicole found irresistibly attractive. But after they’d been dating for awhile, she wanted more from him. During a silence, Nicole would ask him what he was thinking.

He never gave her a satisfactory answer.

Then she began begging him to talk to her. He was hesitant at first. But at her encouragement, he began to open up. He offered up two or three sentences. Then Nicole got excited about getting closer. In her enthusiasm, she’d try to get more information from him.

Then all of a sudden — at least it seemed to be sudden — Sean quit sharing. He was more withdrawn than ever, and Nicole was really confused. She kept asking him what was wrong. And he kept refusing to talk about it.

He’d just shrug his shoulders and mumble, “Nothing’s wrong.”

Sean’s Point of View: He had a very different experience of their relationship. He really liked Nicole. When they first met he loved her energy — and her chatter. She was always ready to fill the silence, so he didn’t have to worry about what to say.

After they’d been together for awhile, he wanted to tell her more about himself. But he felt like he could hardly get a word in edgewise. Nicole kept telling him she wanted to know what he was thinking. But it didn’t seem like that to Sean. As soon as he would get a word out, Nicole would begin her critique.

Nothing he said was right.
It seemed like everything he said set her off in one way or another.
So he gave up.

He began dreading their time together. And started to think about breaking up.


  • What nonverbal communication was Nicole sending?
  • Do you think she was aware of what she was “saying”?
  • What nonverbal communication was Sean sending?
  • Do you think she was aware of what he was “saying”?
  • What could each of them done differently?

To Pray More Effectively, You May Need to Pray Differently.

Most women pray for their men, of course. But what is the content of your prayers?

  • Are you just telling the Lord to help him to get his act together so your life will be easier?
  • Or are you sincerely interested in meeting your man’s emotional needs?

If you want to pray effectively for your man, you’ll need to get into the cave with him.

  • Spiritually and emotionally speaking, that is (this takes time with the Holy Spirit).
  • Rather than verbally or invasively (which we do in our flesh) as noted in my post about the Man Cave.

For example, don’t insist he talk about his feelings. Because he may not fully understand them yet himself.

Instead, Learn to Pray Differently

The first steps are simple.

  • Listen more.
  • Talk less.

That alone will give him more space to talk – when he’s ready. And you’ll learn the most you can about him. He may not say much. But listen to his words. And pay attention to his actions. His actions will speak loudest.

The latter steps take time.

  • Listen to the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray according to God’s will.

Because you’re not a man, you’ll need a spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17) that will enable you to pray for him in accordance with God’s will and perspective on the situation. Yes, you may have some great ideas, but this may not be the best time to share them with your man. Wait upon the Lord, trusting that He cares a lot more about what’s going on with your man than you do.


Keep the content of your prayers between you and the Lord. Your man’s vulnerability is not a subject you should be sharing with your mother, your sister, or your girlfriends.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. (Ephesians 1:17)

He who finds a wife finds what is good
    and receives favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)