Communications in Marriage

Communications in Marriage

RELATIONSHIPS is what LIFE is all about:

  • Relationship with God/ relationships within our family/  with our friends….
  • And today we’re focusing on our husband/wife relationship

Many of our relationships “just happen” – we haven’t chosen to relate to, ie. Our parents, our siblings, family members……….

BUT probably most of our most significant relationship ARE chosen:  we’ve chosen our best friends, even our church and church friends….  And….. our spouse!

Marriage!  Our choice! 

“Marriage is potentially the most intimate of all human relationships.”

  • On the one hand, it will be the most difficult relationship
  • On the other hand, it can also be the most rewarding!
  • THE MOST DIFFICULT ~~~ THE MOST REWARDING !!

WHAT DO I REALLY WANT FROM MY MARRIAGE?

  • An intimate, satisfying, happy relationship ….. where my spouse and I live in harmony & love.  Yes, and I would also add:  we want a growing relationship….

****“A relationship is never stagnant — a live, living relationship is ever growing and changing.  If we’re not growing closer together, then probably we’re growing apart.”

  • This means that we need to be “ever growing and changing” – what a tremendous challenge!!  It goes against our natural grain, doesn’t it.  We love the “status quo” – all of us find it challenging to grow and to change – but that’s what our marriage relationship is all about…..

One of the most basic patterns of a good relationship is:  TO GIVE AND TO RECEIVE LOVE. 

How do we do this?  How do we give love?  How do we receive love?

  • By actions  (the 5 Love languages!) – doing loving things – by our attitudes – by our feelings  ….
  • By our words   – our conversations – speaking to one another in ALL its forms – formal and informal – intentional and unintentional – throughout the day and night!!

Ie.  COMMUNICATION !!    – speech / body language / facial expressions / tone of voice…..

  • Talking – NOT talking (or, shutting down, withdrawing, refusing to talk….)
  • We use GOOD speech patterns, which are loving, up-building, encouraging…..
  • We also use BAD speech patterns – unloving, selfish, down-putting, tearing down….

So…..  the most basic way that we GIVE AND RECEIVE LOVE is through WHAT we say, and HOW we say it.

TASK  –  Giving and receiving LOVE through our words – either the “what”, or the “how”… Through what is said;   and how it is said…..

 

Turn to each other now and tell each other ONE way that you RECEIVE love from your spouse through Communication.   Try to think of something to say with the WHAT is said;  and HOW it is said….

“I RECEIVE love from you when you say _______” (WHAT)  

 OR:  “I really feel loved when you speak to me like this, or like that….”  (HOW)

OR:   “I try to GIVE you love when I say _______”   OR:  “when I speak with _____”

How our COMMUNICATION  (what we say and how we say it) affects  our marriage relationship in the 3 areas:

  • Intimacy
  • Unity/harmony
  • Love and affection
  • COMMUNICATION – AND  INTIMACY    (closeness, sharing, understanding & accepting one another, respecting & honoring one another, companionship, genuine love and affection……)
  • How does our communication with one another affect our Intimacy? 
    • Eph.4:29 – “Do not let 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.”
  • How does it hinder intimacy?
    • Harsh words, rudeness, criticizing, blaming, need for one-upmanship in our relationship, always wanting to have the last word…..  speaking out of a sense of competition with your spouse, you must be better than him/her!!
    • “Bad patterns” of speech can so easily creep in to our talking….  Without our realizing it – or even thinking about it, we can miscommunicate something,
      • We don’t MEAN to say it!  (I didn’t mean it to hurt you!)  – and yet it comes out of our mouth and hurts our spouse.
      • Unintentional words and hidden thoughts and attitudes can destroy intimacy, these words demean our spouse, tear down their self-esteem.
      • Responses such as “I KNOW!”  “You already told me that 100 times!!”  Responses like this can be very deflating to your spouse, very frustrating….
    • Another hindrance or deterrent to Intimacy in our communications is when we don’t express our hearts at any given time…..  we think, “he should know”.  No, he doesn’t know!  He can’t read your mind!  Don’t hope or expect your spouse to be a mind-reader – EXPRESS your thoughts, your feelings at any given time (but express them in a non-judgmental, non-threatening way)!!  Don’t close up or close down. Don’t just “hint”, or “suggest”, or assume.  Say it!   Be open, honest & transparent.
    • Words that tear down often come out of our own unresolved fears, anger, resentments…   Matt.  12:34 – “…for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”   If you find this is a common bad pattern of speech, then come before the Lord, and come before your spouse – confess your sin and seek counseling for unresolved issues.

**** SHARE OUR OWN SPEECH PATTERNS OVER THE YEARS – GRAHAM’S AND MINE….

 

  • Growing in INTIMACY means
    •  taking the TIME to communicate  – TIME for sharing – TIME to get into deeper conversation, to open up to one another….    (TIME to TALK:  NOT communicate via e-mail from across the house!!  Face to face!!
    • Take the TIME to LISTEN….. when your spouse wants to share something!  (And check back with him/her:  did I hear you say ___?  Is this really what you meant/said?)

 

  • Growing in INTIMACY means
    • NOURISHING ONE ANOTHER:  “Each spouse has considerable power to nourish or to starve the other’s personality.”  Prov. 10:21 and 12:18 – nourish/heal…..

 

  • Growing in INTIMACY means:
    • Understanding one another  – and accepting one another….  So that our speech, our communications, our sharing is with acceptance and love
    • It takes hard work to understand your spouse!   We are soooooo different, aren’t we!
    • Have you ever read a book, or studied into the differences between men and women – and applied it to your own relationship with our spouse?  It’s VERY worthwhile – even to take a Myers-Brigg test,  or to talk about these things with close friends — anything to better understand your spouse!!
  • My story re. understanding hubby & cleanliness;  me messy….
    • MenStudy your wife!  Learn the differences betw the two of you!  Appreciate these differences and don’t try to change her!! Don’t get into a negative mind-set about her…..  Accept her for who God made her to be.  Focus on her positives, not on her negatives!!
    • WomenStudy your husband!   Learn the differences between the two of you!  Appreciate these differences and don’t try to change him!  Don’t get a negative mind-set about him….  Accept him for who God made him to be.  Focus on his positives, not on his negatives!     

 

Clip from “Fireproof”-  He says….she says…..

  • COMMUNICATION  –  and UNITY/HARMONY  (Going in one direction, one purpose, one goal…  shared vision, shared dreams.    UNITY IN DIVERSITY !! )

  • How can our communication with one another enhance and encourage UNITY in our marriage?
    • One of the most important aspects of a marriage is that GOD’s intention is that the TWO become ONE….  Gen.2:24 – “…the man be united to his wife…”   (one flesh)
    • Graham has already elaborated on this truth…..  once again we want to focus on:  Hindering…..Enhancing….

 

  • Hindering UNITY:
    • The mindset of a ‘SINGLE’ – doing my own thing, meeting up w.my own friends, buying things without consulting.   
    • Focused on “my individuality” & determined to keep my own goals, dreams going….  Actually…. WHO is in charge of your future?  Your hopes & dreams?  YOU?  Is it not GOD? 
    • Digging our heals in and refusing to give up, give in  (stubbornness!) ….  reflected in our speaking .
    • Insisting on our way – which we are convinced is the BEST way – not considering our spouse’s good way also!!
    • Speaking condescendingly to the other, putting them down, not respecting them
    • Being too busy to spend TIME together –   refusing to put on the mindset of “We must have time together”….
    • A spirit of rejection – instead of acceptance;   a rebellious spirit instead of humility, submission;  arrogance, pride, self-justification…..  ALL of these “uglies” hinder UNITY in your marriage!  These must be acknowledged as sin, confessed and seeking forgiveness from the Lord and from your spouse.

  • Enhancing UNITY:
      • Be of one heart, one mind –  Phil.2: 2 – “be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose…”   (words to the church at Philippi, but we can apply them to our marriage).  UNITY is GOD’s idea, His ideal, what HE wants us to work towards! 
        • How can this happen – we are soooo different, we have different goals, dreams, desires…..  In marriage we are brought together to become ONE.   But we must WORK towards unity & harmony!  This doesn’t mean that you must LOSE your identity…..  in fact, you will only GAIN as you follow God’s intentions and plans.
        • Let’s reflect this in our conversations, our ways of speaking to one another, being willing to give in, willing to LISTEN….
        • Be inclusive  in the way you speak to your spouse, the language you use – use “WE” – not “I” or “ME”.  INCLUDE your spouse in everything!!
      • Be open & honest with one another – not hiding things or keeping secrets…..
        • Example:  a shopping spree;   a secret “plan” betw us and close friend, or mother, or….  
        • Open up to each other – deeper and deeper sharing – so your spouse can understand you better & better!
        • Col.3:9 – “Do not lie to each other…”  Eph.4:25 – “Put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor – your spouse!!”
    • Decision-making 
        • Talk it through openly;  be willing to give and take/compromise
      • Speaking about our spouse with your friends, family, other people —
        • Show/illustrate/exhibit  UNITY in your marriage by ALWAYS speaking good, upright and upbuilding things about your spouse!  Don’t EVER speaking condescendingly or negatively about your spouse with others!
        • This is SUCH a bad habit, a bad trap, especially when you’re in the company of others who are mouthing off about their spouse, putting them down, etc. etc.  DON’T JOIN IN!  When others speak negatively – YOU PUT IN A POSITIVE WORD about your spouse!  (Then see how they react!! J)

 

      • Unity is also enhanced by taking TIME together, to talk and share together….
        • This is a mind-set as well as a reality of “no time”.  But if the mind-set is on “We MUST take time together” – then it will happen!!  Time to talk, time to be intimate with one another…..  
  • Communicating with one another with the intention of promoting UNITY and Harmony – then also leads to “PEACE” – and I love that verse in Romans 14:19 – applied to our communications with each other in marriage – “Let us therefore make every effort to do  (to SPEAK )  what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”   (mutual building-up of one another)

Brothers and sisters, this is GOD’S WORD!!  THIS is what builds UNITY!!

 

iii.   COMMUNICATION – and  LOVE! 

  • Already mentioned this earlier in my Introduction –Giving  and Receiving  Love through communication, words…..
  • We LOVE each other in marriage by actions as well as by words….

  • LOVING COMMUNICATION in all its forms – gentle, kind, up-building, inclusive,  loving
    • LOVE BUILDS UP,   DOESN’T TEAR DOWN.  
    • Like we read in Eph.4:29 earlier:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others (your spouse)  up, according to their needs.”
    • By our words   – our conversations – speaking to one another in ALL its forms – formal and informal – intentional and unintentional – throughout the day and night!!

Ie.  COMMUNICATION !!    – speech / body language / facial expressions / tone of voice…..

 

  • Talking   – This is the positive communication – but it can also be negative:  too much talking!!  (Sometimes we women-folk get into the bad habit of “too much talking” – especially, it seems, when we’re frustrated about something and want to get a message across to our husband and we think he’s not listening:  we can come across with TOO MANY WORDS – trying to get him to listen, or trying to get him to understand — but it has the opposite effect!!   With too many words, our spouse will shut down!  Withdraw!

 

  • NOT talking  (or, shutting down, withdrawing, refusing to talk….)

 

  • We use GOOD speech patterns, which are loving, up-building, encouraging…..
  • We also use BAD speech patterns – unloving, selfish, down-putting, tearing down….

 

  • I Cor 13   – This is what LOVE truly is!  And this is how we communicate in love….  You can use all these descriptive words about love, and apply it to our speaking with one another:
    • Patiently
    • Kindly
    • Not enviously
    • Not boastfully
    • Not proudly
    • Not rudely
    • Not Selfishly
    • Not angrily
    • Not spouting off past faults, failings
    • Not with evil intentions
    • With rejoicing in the truth
    • Protectingly
    • Trustingly
    • With hope  (not despair)
    • Perseveringly (not giving up)
    • LOVE NEVER FAILS !
  • Incredible, isn’t it!  This is our life-long pursuit in growing a loving, caring, affectionate marriage relationship.  And with God’s help, guidance and enabling, WE CAN DO IT!!

Frieda E. Roberts

Oct.17, 2009

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