Communication in Marriage

Faith Church January 31, 1999

Communication In Marriage

Have you ever considered that fact that God could have chosen a multitude of ways for us to communicate with Him and with each other?  Instead, God chose the primary means of communication to be the use of words!  God spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1: “And God said . . .”).  After creating Adam and Eve, the Scriptures tell us, “And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth . . .’” (Genesis 1:28).


While words are important and a larger percentage of our communication, words alone are not sufficient for effective biblical communication.  In fact, God instructs us to not let words be our only source of communication.  Consider 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”  Our words must be backed up by actions.  Remember the old saying, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you are saying.”  There is a lot of truth in this statement!
However, we cannot show love with actions alone because God tells us hundreds of times in the Bible that He loves us.  So, we should not only do things to communicate our love for others, we must also grow in telling others that we love them and use well chosen words to communicate and solve problems and/or prevent them.
Jay Adams writes in Christian Living in the Home, “Communication is fundamental to a Christ-centered home because it is the means by which a husband-wife relationship and parent-child relationship is established, grows, and is maintained.  Apart from the open channels of truthful communication that Paul discusses (in Ephesians 4) . . . there can be no truly Christ centered home.”
Communication is a key to building strong marriages, families, and relationships.  While some communicate better than others, we all must be growing in the area of communication – in both words and actions.


Introductory Principles


I. Defining Effective Communication:


A. A preliminary definition
“The process of sharing information with another person in such a way that the sender’s message is understood as he intended it. Unless the sender and receiver have come to a common meaning, they haven’t communicated effectively.”  Wayne Mack, Your Family God’s Way.
What are some principles we can draw from this definition?
 
B. Expanding our definition
1.  How would the following verses help us to possibly strengthen this definition?
1 Corinthians 10:31:  “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Colossians 1:18:  “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.”

Psalm 119:105:  “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”

What are some additional concepts that we could add to our definition that would help us to define biblical communication?

2. Complete the following sentences based on Romans 11:36.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…”
• from Him – Because God is our SOURCE of biblical communication we should:
 
• through Him – Because God is our MEANS of communication we should:
 
• to Him – Because glorifying God is our GOAL in communication we should:

C.  How a person communicates reflects the inner man (i.e. what is in his/her heart).
Matthew 12:34:  ". . . for the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
Proverbs 18:4:  “The words of a man's mouth are deep waters . . .”
What might a person be thinking who speaks in the following ways?
• Harshly/unkind: 
• Gossips: 
• Curses/Inappropriate Language: 
• Fails to tell others, especially family, that he/she loves them: 
D.  Communication problems are a result of the curse of sin.
Adam/Eve’s communication with God went from openness and honesty to some of the following ways of communicating:  (Please complete the following statements by using the verses provided in Genesis 3.)
Genesis 3:7:  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”
 Instead of being honest, they _______________________________________________________.
Genesis 3:8:  “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
 Instead of being honest, they _______________________________________________________.
Genesis 3:10:  “And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."
 Instead of being honest, they _______________________________________________________.
Genesis 3:12:  “And the man said, ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’  Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’  And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”
 Instead of being honest, they _______________________________________________________.
E.  Thankfully, the Word of God provides many answers to communication problems.
How do the following verses give you hope concerning your ability to grow in communicating biblically?
2 Timothy 3:16:  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Corinthians 5:17:  “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Principles for Effective Communication


Il. Effective Communication Begins by Recognizing the Great Potential with Words.


Proverbs 18:21:  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
A.  According to the following verses, what are some NEGATIVE uses of our words or speech?
• Proverbs 11:9:  “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor . . .”
 
• Proverbs 15:1:  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
 
• Proverbs 15:4:  “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.”

B.  According to the following verses, what are some POSITIVE uses of our words or speech?
• Proverbs 15:1:  “A gentle answer turns away wrath . . .”
 
• Proverbs 16:24:  “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
 
• 1 Thessalonians 4:18:  “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

0 Be Careful with Non-Verbal Communication.
A.  What are some everyday examples of non-verbal communication? (e.g. rolling your eyes)

B.  The Bible also gives us several examples of non-verbal communication.
For additional study:  Read Genesis 32-33
C.  There are some potential dangers with non-verbal communication.
What are some of the dangers of which a person sending a message needs to be aware?

What are some of the dangers of which a person receiving a message needs to be aware?

Note:  1 Corinthians 2:11:  “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?”
How does this verse help us to be careful as we interpret non-verbal communication?

D.  We need to learn to overcome the non-verbal communication barriers.
1. Don’t assume the worst or give the “darkest interpretation.”
1 Corinthians 13:7:  “Love . . . bears all things, believes all things” (i.e. love seeks to believe the best)
2. Learn to ask clarifying questions.
What are some examples of questions that would help us to clarify non-verbal communication?
 
 



3. Be willing to explain your non-verbal communication when asked or when others may have misunderstood your actions.
How might a person misunderstand another’s non-verbal communication?



Ill. Avoid the “Non Communication” Gap (not talking, the silent treatment, etc.).


Some people seem to be better communicators than others. While that may be true to some degree, we must recognize that communication is a learned behavior and requires growth just like every other area in our Christian lives.
Sometimes we struggle with communicating the wrong things (or what we should not be communicating).  On the other hand, we also struggle with failing to communicate the right things (or things that we should be communicating).
A.  Consider the following ways we can avoid the “non-communication” gap.
1.  We should look for ways to express our thankfulness to others.
1 Thessalonians 5:18:  “In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What are some ways we can express thanks to the following people:
• Spouse:  .
• Children: .
• In-laws: .
2.  We should be willing to communicate about the interests of others (topics they want to discuss).
Philippians 2:3:  “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
What are some topics with which you find it is difficult for you to communicate?  How can you overcome this difficulty?


3.  We must communicate with “all of our heart” – not half-heartedly.
Galatians 6:10:  “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
What does it communicate to others when we seem uninterested in what they are saying?

4.  We must give honor to whom honor is due.
Romans 13:7:  “Render to all what is due them: . . . honor to whom honor.”
What does it communicate to a person who makes a good contribution to a project or puts forth a good effort or even makes a good suggestion and nothing gets said to them?

5.  We must be willing to communicate and take the time to communicate even when we don’t feel like it. 
What does it communicate to a person when we simply ignore them, on purpose or by accident, and don’t talk to them?

B.  What are some reasons why a person might fall into the “non-communicator’s” trap?

0 Learn When to Be Quiet.
Proverbs 10:19:  “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable . . .”
Proverbs 18:2:  “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.”
While some struggle with “hardly saying a word,” others struggle with learning to be quiet and fail to let others “get a word in edge wise.”  In essence, a person can be guilty of talking too much!  We must avoid this extreme as well!
A. What are some examples of a person “uttering all their mind” or failing to learn when NOT to say something?
 
 

“Often an ‘undertalker’ and an ‘overtalker’ will initially attract each other and become married.  At first this seems like a good arrangement.  The ‘undertalker’ need not try to converse, and the ‘overtalker’ can do all the talking he wants.  But then the glitter wears off, and the quiet person either tunes the other person out or becomes resentful that conversation is so one-sided.  The overwhelmed and dominated spouse may find it difficult to respect the dominator, and a sense of alienation may result.”  Wayne Mack, Your Family God’s Way.
B. What are some potential reasons why a person might be guilty of this sinful communication?
 
 
C. We need to learn to overcome this sinful habit or help others overcome it.
Complete the following statements based on the verses provided:
1.  Ephesians 5:21:  “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
James 4:10:  “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
I can learn when to be quiet by practicing  .
How will these qualities help a person overcome this habit?

2.  Luke 9:23:  “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”
I can learn when to be quiet by  .
How will doing this help a person overcome this habit?

3. Consider how the following reasons for what Wayne Mack calls “overtalk” could contribute to this problem:
• Pride:
• Fear of silence:
• Poor Listening:
• Desire to Control Topics:
I. Be Committed to Speaking the Truth.
Biblical communication begins with a commitment to speaking the truth and allowing God’s Word to impact not only what a person communicates, but how a person communicates.
A. How can speaking the truth help another person be more pleasing to God?
 
B. How does the 2 Corinthians 5:10 help a person be committed to speaking the truth?
2 Corinthians 5:10:  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
 
C. In what way(s) does the following verse help us to communicate the truth to others?
Ephesians 4:15:  “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him . . .”
 
D. What are some potential consequences in not communicating the truth and/or not communicating the truth in love?
Not communicating the truth: 
Not communicating the truth in love: 
1 Learn the Value of Being a Good Listener
Good listening involves:
A. Genuine love for the other person.
How will loving a person the way God loves them help us to be a better listener?
 
B. Practicing self control.
What does “self control” have to do with becoming a good listener?
 
C. Wanting to truly understand the other person’s position or perspective.
What will a person do who truly desires to understand another’s communication?
 
D. Getting all the facts.
Proverbs 18:13:  “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.”
How does Proverbs 18:13 help us develop our listening skills?
 
E. Avoiding distractions in the process of communicating with others.
What are some common distractions that hinder us when trying to listen to others?  How can we avoid these?
 
 
F. Giving careful consideration before giving a response.
Proverbs 15:28:  “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
How will “thinking before you respond” help you please God in your communication?

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