James 4:1 tells us that our conflicts come from the desires that battle within us. So, if that’s true — and trust me, it is — then we should make more of an effort to recognize our spouse’s real desires and improve our communication. Not only would this mindset shift change how we talk to each other, but it would also improve how we perceive our partner’s intentions.

As we continue into this new year, it’s important to recognize the many damaging patterns in our relationships that keep us from communicating and understanding each other better. They are dangerous cocktails that keep us from having a safe and connected marriage, and most couples don’t even know they are in them most of the time.

We are created with deep, natural desires that are at our core and in our hearts!


Real Desires Fulfilled

Having our desires fulfilled validates our existence. It gives deeper meaning to who we really are. When our desires are fulfilled, we also enjoy better, more intimate relationships with God, ourselves, and others.

Needless to say, understanding these real desires helps us connect with others and discover our true need for God and others.

We are created with and desire to be:

Not Hearing the Real Desire

Now, imagine for a second what happens when you don’t listen and hear what the true desire is when there is a complaint, comment, or conversation during a conflict? When our desires are not fulfilled, we have pain, loneliness, feelings of rejection, and frustration. We get angry and act out behaviors that may not be healthy or may have negative consequences.

As a result, we fight and get defensive. Anger boils to the surface, and our words come out harshly. More importantly, we miss the opportunity to see the underlying need of a person we love and to build them up and make them feel special.

Underneath Every Complaint Lurks Real Desire

Remember that underneath every complaint or problem expressed is a deeper longing, need, or desire of the heart. God is the only one who can truly satisfy our soul’s deepest desires. But what I also believe is that many times, God uses other people to do his work. He has put us together to connect and bring fulfillment and meaning to our lives through each other.

All we are asking here is for you to consider what happens when we take a moment, give our thoughts some space, and evaluate what is underneath the words, tone, and conflict in a particular situation. We need to focus on the things that are really important — the person. And when we do that, we understand that person more fully and how we can influence and impact their life for the better and for the benefit of our relationships.


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Did we leave anything out? How are you trying to listen to your spouse’s underlying desires? Have you improved your communication as a result? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going at Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.