TRANSCRIPT: Good morning, Five Minute Families! We are so glad to be with you again this morning. Today we are closing out our three-week discussion of marriage. We are tackling one of the biggest and most troublesome parts of marriage, communication. But before we go there, we want you to ask yourself, “have I given my marriage an intentional five minutes MORE to connect with my spouse and build a stronger family for God’s kingdom?
One of the reasons we ask that question is to look more to the purpose and not just the mechanics of marriage. Where is your heart in all that you say and do? We know so many couples that choose to read books, listen to podcasts, or go to conferences to gain more knowledge about how to have a better marriage, but they never stop to look at the reason why. Probably the biggest skill sets taught at marriage conferences and events are communication skills.
Don’t get us wrong, I am a communication major and Jim is a counselor. Communication skills and research matter greatly to both of us. It is by applying communication skills and practices that I learned in my college classes that Jim and I are able to choose to engage in conversation even when there is conflict. Those skills have served us when hurts and tragedies surrounded us, and I was floundering greatly. Applying the communication skill of “What I heard you say is…” saved us many hours, days, or weeks of hurt because we were able to address the issue immediately. (check out our March 31 blog on listening for more information if you don’t know what the “What I heard you say is…” skill involves).
But, we all must realize that communication is more than a set of skills to be learned; communication – especially in marriage – is a heart’s attitude showing you value the person with whom you are communicating. If you have ever seen the movie Fireproof, you would have heard about the Love Dare. As the character is going through the motions of the Love Dare, doing and saying certain things to “win her back,” at one point he gets frustrated that his wife is not responding. The lead character’s father points out that his heart isn’t really in it.
Where is your heart when you communicate with your spouse? Are you listening fully and trying to understand, or are you waiting for him to hurry up and finish so you can get back to your Amazon Prime Video? Applying Ephesians 4:29 which says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” can be hard when we are home after a long day of controlling our tongues with the annoying work colleague or a long day of dealing with children who neither listen nor understand when they do. We so often slip into the “social media” way of communicating. You know, saying whatever we want, whenever we want, and expecting a non-committal “I’m sorry” afterward to suffice for our inherently bad behavior.
We would like to highlight five points that can radically change your marital communication:
- First, always pray before addressing an issue with your spouse (and, well, with anyone really).
- Second – and also before addressing any situation, ask yourself if this is a potentially explosive topic that might need to be discussed at a different, prescribed time.
- Next, make sure you choose your words carefully. Take a moment to make sure the word you are choosing is the one that best conveys your thoughts AND remember to choose words that you know will help your spouse better understand you.
- Number 4, please remember that your joking may not be as innocently taken as you intend it to be.
- Finally, if you are already in the heat of the moment of conflict, remember that is never too late to do that right thing.
We ask again, where is your heart’s focus when you communicate with your spouse? Are the words of your mouth acceptable to the Lord? Are you being intentional, kind, and caring with your thoughts as well as your words? Remember, Proverbs 12:18 tells us that “[T]here is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Be wise, my friends. Love one another. Build up your marriage with rich, intentional communication, building one another up in the Lord and trusting Him to continue to teach you skills and give you a heart’s attitude to better deepen relationships for His sake.
May God shine His light upon you this week. Be blessed!
~Originally aired on WECO 95.5 fm/940 am Tues, June 23, 2020~