The Art of Marital Communication
- Thursday, April 03, 2003
Every marriage survey ranks it as the number one problem. You guessed it, marital communication. “We just don’t communicate like we used to. My husband never talks to me.” “My wife is always trying to get me to talk. I feel like I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming, into every conversation.” Sound familiar? Probably so. Most marriages seem to bog down in this quagmire of bad communication. And when communication breaks down, barriers build up, until the cold shoulder is the normative posture in a marriage.
Created for Communication
But we were created for communication, especially in marriage. Of all places, marital communication should reflect the intimate and harmonious communication of God Himself. For God is a Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the only true and perfect Communication from all eternity. Whatever intimate and harmonious communication is, it is found perfectly in the Trinity. And we were created in God’s image. So we were created for communication, communication that is designed for beauty, intimacy, and harmony. Of all places, this should be best expressed in our Christian marriages.
Barriers to Communication
What makes marital communication so difficult? Basically, we all face specific barriers that hinder a deepening communication in our marriages. First, we all carry some baggage with us from our upbringing. Our parents may have never communicated with each other or with us. They may have told us that children are to be seen and not heard. Second, we live in an isolating culture. Things like television, the Internet, and video games isolate us from those nearest and dearest to us. We get comfortable finding our own meaning, purpose, and values without having to interact and communicate with others. Third, we are bombarded with outside pressures. Jobs, car pools, church meetings, and the like, can steal the quality time needed for real communication between husbands and wives. Fourth, we tend to be lazy, gravitating to the nearest comfort zone. Real marital communication takes time, effort, and planning. It is not for the fainthearted. And fifth, we may be fearful of showing our emotions or of being rejected if we communicate openly and honestly.
The Art of Marital Communication
Marital communication is an art. It can be nurtured into the joy that God intended for couples. Try the following steps to make it happen.
- As a couple before God, commit yourselves to the recovery of a Trinitarian communication. Ask Him to nurture the language of intimacy and relationship in your lives. Great communication begins with God, the Author and Perfecter of all communication.
Ears that hear and eyes that see — the LORD has made them both (Proverbs 20:12).
- Accept the fact that God alone is the perfect Communicator. Your marriage will always need His redeeming touch for intimate communication to develop. And you will never arrive at the place of perfect communication in marriage.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (Psalms 34:15; 1 Peter 3:12).
- Recognize that there will be times of spontaneous communication as well as structured communication in your marriage. So be sensitive to both. Grab it when the need bursts into your marriage. Plan it when you are strung out on life’s pressures.
A person finds joy in giving an apt answer — how good is a timely word (Proverbs 15:23).
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