Develop Godly Communication in Your Marriage
- Bayless Conley Answers with Bayless Conley
- 2009 9 Mar
Despite what you see in movies, a good marriage has to be built on more than passion. Though passion is an important element, a healthy, growing marriage must also be built on principle. God’s principles.
Those principles, or guidelines, for a strong and vibrant marriage are in fact found in the Ten Commandments.
One way to understand the Ten Commandments is to see them as God’s covenant with His bride, the people of Israel. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, they were, as much as anything else, a list of wedding vows for God’s people. God was saying, “If you want to have a long-term relationship with Me that is healthy and growing, here is what you need to do.”
In the same way, I think it’s appropriate to look at each of the Ten Commandments as guidelines or principles that you can use to build a strong and vibrant marriage with your spouse. And while I don’t have room here to look at each commandment, I do think it’s worth looking at one in particular, the third commandment, Exodus 20:7. It says…
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
The phrase in vain means “empty, meaningless, insincere, not showing due respect.” Whenever we speak flippantly or lightly about someone, it weakens our respect for them. It doesn’t change them, it changes us, and it changes our view of them. I think some people are far too casual and disrespectful in their speech with God.
And the same thing is true in a marriage. In fact, there are very few things that can affect a marriage as powerfully as words can.
As a husband, I really have to work at communication. I am not, by nature, a talker. But for my wife, Janet (and most women in general), words are incredibly important. Men and women are just wired differently!
Think about it. When God created Adam, He gave him a job—to guard and tend the garden. If Adam ran into any challenges or problems, the only person he could talk to was God… or he would have to internalize things and work out a solution.
Men tend to be wired that way. When they run into a challenge in life, they’ll either talk to God about it or they’ll internalize it. They generally won’t say anything until they’ve worked it out inside.
When God created Eve, the first thing she was given was a relationship. So typically, when a woman runs into a challenge or difficulty in life, the first thing she wants to do is talk about it.
So you can see why… even from the beginning… communication has been an issue for husbands and wives! But even though God wired us differently as men and women, He doesn’t let us off the hook when it comes to communicating effectively with our spouse.
In Ephesians 5:25, the apostle Paul tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her….” Part of loving your wife means taking the time to listen to her… just like Jesus loves us by taking time to listen to us. And not once in my relationship with Christ has He ever been too busy for me!
At the same time, wives, when James talks about our words, he compares them to a rudder on a ship: “Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires” (James 3:4).
Our words are like the rudder on a ship, and we steer our life with the words of our mouth. So my encouragement to wives is to listen to the language you use with your husband, because your words are powerful. Your words are containers full of love, joy, encouragement, and hope… or they are containers full of disrespect, hatred, and bitterness.
Over the years, Janet and I have counseled many, many couples. And at the root of almost every problem, we’ve seen a communication issue.
So my challenge to husbands and wives today is to really think about how you are communicating with your spouse, and then commit to improve it. Learn to adapt to how each other is wired when it comes to communication. And watch your relationship grow into the long-term, healthy marriage that God intends!
Published March 24, 2009.
Answers with Bayless Conley broadcasts practical teachings of the Bible to its viewers in a non-religious way. For years, Bayless Conley struggled with drugs and alcohol while searching for answers. It was not until he was more than 20 years of age that a 12-year-old boy showed him the powerful reality of a relationship with Christ. Since 1979, the Lord has opened the television airwaves to the Answers program, which currently airs each week in more than 100 nations around the world.