Houston…We Have a Communication Problem

Welcome  Most weeks I try to include a post about marriage.  I figure we can use all the help we can get, coming in the form of encouragement, prayer, and scripture.  Today’s topic is communication, but I assure you I do NOT have all the answers on this topic.  If I did, I’d be retired and living in the mountains by now.  But I can share from my experiences and what I’m learning (still) after 13 years of wedded BLISS!  I also have a recipe for Green Chile and Chicken Enchilada Bake to share with you today.  Enjoy the weekend!  Note–I may receive a small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links seen on this blog.  I am not affiliated with any of the authors or publishers mentioned in this post.  Comments regarding any books are strictly my opinion.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Marriage Communication
Communication is probably the number one topic in marriage help books.

 

Food For Thought  There should be no doubt to anyone that I love my husband.  I try to sing his praises often here on the blog.  I love being married to him, I love being his wife, and I love sharing our life together.  What I would love more, however, is better communication.  As you can imagine, since I’m a writer, I like to talk.  I like to express my opinions and like to share in conversation.  Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, calls that a “babbling brook.”  I wonder if that’s why we gave our daughter the middle name Brooke?  My husband is much more quiet and reserved.  He is intelligent, funny, and has great ideas.  He just doesn’t seek out deep conversations with me, or anyone for that matter.  Dr. Chapman calls that the “dead sea.”  He takes in lots of thoughts, but rarely releases any in conversation.

No one needs to tell us ladies, or the guys either, that men and women are created differently, not only biologically, but psychologically.  Of course, every one is an individual with their own personality types, but we can typically make the generalization that men and women think differently.  That’s why there are so many books, and jokes, on the subject.  When I was in college, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was an extremely popular book.  I personally have never read it, but I’m pretty sure it was addressing some of the issues I’m referring to.  However, I have read Men are like Waffles…Women are like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrell.  Wow, did I enjoy that book!  Men like to process things in “boxes” one at a time.  Women see everything connected and tangled together like a big plate of spaghetti.  I can easily see that philosophy play out in my own marriage.  It would have been useful to read it about 15 years ago, but I still have so much to learn, it’s still beneficial.  It really helped me understand some of the differences in thinking patterns between men and women.  I have been enjoying books about marriage that are written from the Christian perspective in recent years.  I have read several and what topic does nearly every marriage book need to cover?  Communication!  When you are living with someone every single day of your life and sharing every aspect of your lives together, communication is bound to be of utmost importance.  But what happens when that person doesn’t want to communicate?

 

I read all these books and they offer lists of deep, thought-provoking questions we are intended to discuss with our spouses.  But it feels forced, unnatural, and at times, cheesy.  And while I would be happy to banter back and forth with my husband about these questions and get to know each other at a “deeper” level, I think my husband would rather have every tooth extracted out of his head without anesthesia than have these kind of talks.  I knew this early on in our relationship.  He’s the guy that would rather crack jokes about something serious than address a real issue through discussion.  So, to keep him comfortable and happy, I try not to force these deep conversations too often.  But every now and then I get all of these concerns, worries, annoyances, grievances, and frustrations built up inside of me, NEEDING to be let out in the open.  However, instead of just starting to talk about it, I do the “girl thing” and try to hint around at what I want and need.  I don’t want to be blunt, because that would be nagging, right?  No, instead I get mad at my husband because he can’t be a mind reader!  Now, I not only have all of these built-up grievances, I’m mad that he doesn’t know WHY I’m mad!  Please tell me this sounds familiar to you (somebody, anybody!)  And the thought crosses my mind, we need to communicate better.  I take a deep breath and say “We need to talk, now.”  This is usually after our daughter heads to bed and involves me interrupting some television show or movie he’s watching, but I know that I won’t be able to sleep, or let things go, until we talk.  By now he has learned that my request means TURN OFF the TV!  Then he usually follows with, “Ok, what about?”  My instinct is always, “You mean you don’t know!”  But then I start talking about things going on in our relationship that I consider problematic.  Turns out, he usually has no clue there is a problem!  He’s been going on about his merry life thinking things were fine because I was the one not communicating.  In an effort to protect his ego, or personal preference, or whatever, I was shutting down my own forms of communication.  So I have committed myself to start sharing things, that feel major to me, as they come up, rather than letting them build up.  As the title of chapter 3 from The 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make (also by Bill and Pam Farrell) says Decide to Communicate.  Do these conversations always go the way I want them to?  No, especially when he tries to use humor to avoid something serious.  But I’m less angry or upset if I go ahead with the conversation rather than storing up “retaliation rocks” for later.  The longer we are together, the better we know each other and our preferences for dealing with problems.  This allows us to deal with things in a more mature manner the further we go into our marriage.  Have I figured out all of the answers regarding communication in marriage, with all the books I’ve read?  Definitely not, because every marriage is different, made up of two different individuals with unique circumstances to their own lives.  But gaining and applying knowledge from scripture and mentor couples can’t hurt.  I think I’ll try to tell my husband about that tonight!

Additional Reading  I have found these books most helpful when working on my marriage.  Links verified on 10/6/17 at 10:12 a.m. CDT.

Today’s Scriptures  How we communicate with our spouses is just as, or even more important than, what we are communicating.  Here are a few of my favorite scriptures about communication.

James 1:19  “My dear brother, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11  “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Ephesians 4:29  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Today’s Recipe  One thing my husband has no trouble communicating is how much he loves my cooking!  I appreciate that about him.  It also makes it easy for me to know that his favorite foods have a Tex-Mex or southwestern flavor.  He loves spicy!  This week I made him this Green Chile and Chicken Enchilada Bake.  I asked my husband, who LOVES enchiladas, if he was disappointed because they weren’t individual enchiladas.  He said definitely not because he still got all of the enchilada flavor and knew that it was easier for me to make and serve this way.  What a guy!

Green Chile and Chicken Enchilada Bake
If you love the flavor of enchiladas but hate to spend all that time rolling individual enchiladas, a layered casserole is the way to go!

 

Green Chile and Chicken Enchilada Bake (serves 6-8)

  • 1 1/2 pounds of cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup canned diced green chiles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 16-oz carton sour cream
  • 2 10.5-oz cans of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 18 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 12 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 7.5 oz jar of Taco Bell Salsa Verde
  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees and spray 9×13 casserole (preferably deep dish) with cooking spray.  In large saucepan, combine broth, chiles, onion, pepper, cumin, sour cream, and cream of chicken soups.  Bring to a boil and continue to whisk until combined and thick.  Remove from heat.  Place one cup of the soup mixture on bottom of casserole.  Stir chicken into remaining soup.  Place 6 tortillas in casserole.  Top with 1/3 of remaining soup mixture and 1/2 bag of cheese.  Repeat these layers two more times.  Top with Salsa Verde.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Allow casserole to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.  This dish pairs nicely with an avocado salad.
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