The story of the Tower of Babel, found in Genesis 11, highlights the incredible potential and power of communication. In a state of rebellion against God, the people attempted to build a tower that would "reach unto heaven." What did God do to prevent them? Rather than sending an earthquake or plague, He chose to ruin their ability to communicate. God knew that communication was foundational to their ability to get anything done.

Communication is absolutely vital to human existence, and God desires for us to communicate with each other in a way that will solve problems, build relationships, and bring glory to Him.

What are the basic purposes of communication? Why is it so powerful and important? One of the most significant purposes of communication is to solve problems and build relationships. In marriage, communication is the single greatest factor in working through problems. If you're not dealing with problems right now, communication is the single greatest factor in building and strengthening your marriage relationship.

I once talked with a woman who told me that she and her husband were getting a divorce. "We have never really talked," she said. She then made a statement that has echoed through my mind over the years. She said, "You know, Pastor Davis, since we decided to get a divorce, we have finally started talking. We have talked more in the last week than in all the years of our marriage. If only we could have talked like this for the last few years, I don't think we would be getting a divorce at all!" I strongly suspect that she was right. Communication not only builds relationships, but it helps solve problems in those relationships.

There is so much frustration in homes and families because of failure to adequately communicate. I've had young people say to me, "My parents won't talk to me." Parents, it isn't our impression of how much we are communicating with our children that matters; their impression is what counts. It's a wise father and mother who don't rely on just spanking, grounding, or grabbing car keys, but who know how to grab a child's emotions in a heart-to-heart conversation.

One of the greatest family crises that can develop is communication shutdown. All other crises inevitably erupt from it. Once communication has shut down, it is often painful and difficult to get it started again. And when it does start up, it will often begin with conflict that causes people to run away instead of staying with it. Any time there is a problem, the solution is not less communication; the solution is more communication. The problem will not work out if you just walk away.

It has been said that communication is to a relationship what blood is to the body. As the blood flows through the body, carrying out impurities and bringing fresh cells and life, so communication regularly carries out the impurities of a relationship and causes the whole relationship to be fresh and new and alive.

Since it is so vitally important to families, how can we make sure that we are communicating effectively? I'd like to share several practical steps.

Discover, Learn About, and Show Interest in the Interests of Your Spouse and Your Children

This principle is found in Romans 15:1-2. It says we "ought . . . not to please ourselves . . . Let every one of us please his neighbor . . . to edification." Find the interest of your spouse and get interested in it. Maybe it's gardening or sewing, the stock market or computers. Perhaps it's hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, carpentry, cooking, quilting, singing, or playing an instrument. There are hundreds—even thousands—of possibilities.

You may have heard this statement before, but let me share it with you right here: You've got to be interested if you're going to be interesting. In other words, if you want to be interesting to someone, you've got to take interest in the other's interests. Look for it. Discover it; learn about it. By doing so, you create an area where two people can connect and begin opening doors for communication.