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Childhood sexual abuse: How can we speak and listen so that our wives can hear and understand?

Communication in Marriage

I recently conducted a seminar on communication in marriage. I was intrigued by the demographics of the group of men attending the seminar; most were over age 40 and many were over 60. I immediately noted that husbands and wives, no matter how long they have been married, are still trying to figure out how to communicate with each other. This is especially true in marriages that have been affected by childhood sexual abuse. Husbands whose wives are survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience unique pressures and problems because of the trauma that has been endured by their wives; pressures and problems unknown in other marriages not affected by abuse. At the same time, most of the tensions faced in marriages affected by a wife’s childhood sexual abuse are not different than in any other marriage except that the challenges tend to be intensified.

In a recent blog titled 5 Standards of Successful Communication, marriage and family counselor Jimmy Evans highlighted the vital importance of communication in marriage. Evans noted that in modern warfare, one of the first endeavors of a military force is to cut the enemy’s lines of communication. This action yields desired outcomes because communication is central to strategy. Evans stated that without the ability to communicate, a military force becomes weakened and confused and the result is defeat.

Evans emphasized that just as communication is central to strategy in the military, communication is central to unity in marriage. Without healthy communication, the relationship of husband and wife become weakened and confused and the result is defeat. It is no wonder then that Satan, the enemy of our souls, works hard to cut the communication lines in our marriages.

God created men and women with distinct differences. One of those differences is in how we communicate. Quite honestly and to put it more bluntly, a key difference in many husbands – not all – is in whether we communicate. Some guys, if they could get away with it, would live out their lives with grunts. In fact, a recent commercial featured a dad’s audible “humphs” eventually leading to the close of the commercial when his young preschool son offered his own higher pitched “Humph!”

How can we speak and listen, as husbands, so that our wives can hear and understand? It’s a matter of expressing, receiving, and our driving motivations.

I invite you to listen to the 45-minute presentation that I recently offered on this topic – How to Speak & Listen as a Husband (So That Your Wife Can Hear & Understand). I suggest that you listen to it in segments. Absorbing the content first will better ensure the application of the content.

4 Responses on “Childhood sexual abuse: How can we speak and listen so that our wives can hear and understand?

  1. sonny says:

    The audio doesn’t work

    1. Sorry about that. I’m having someone check the link. Unfortunately, I’m not locating the original recording on my computer. I apologize for this glitch.

    2. The link is now fixed and you can hear the audio by clicking on the title. I am so sorry for such a long delay in replying to you and thank you again for notifying us of the glitch.

  2. sonny says:

    Personally, I’ve noticed that we can communicate longer if I can remain calm and deescalate when I notice my wife getting angry. ( “A soft answer turneth away wrath”.) If she knows I am listening to her and haven’t “closed up” then she remains engaged in the conversation longer. Healthy communication and conflict resolution is hard work for me, but it’s easier and more productive if we follow Biblical precepts.

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