“Dwell With Them According To Knowledge”
Speech is a gift given to humans but basically denied to all the rest of the natural world. It is the tangible part of us that is also common among the spirit beings. (Angels, devils, and all heavenly beings.)
Present studies report we all say about 16,000 words in a day, some more and some less. Regardless, we do take talking for granted, it comes so natural. The question is not whether or not we talk, the question is if we communicate.
Students of relationships agree that when relationships are good, then communication is easy, trust is evident and mistakes are allowable. A courting couple often finds they can just talk and talk while the hours quickly fly by. It is also true that when communication is thorough and respectful, then relationships are the most likely to be improved.
When life moves to everyday living, ease in communication may change. When a problem arises, strangely, a couple who found it easy to talk may later find it easier to steer around the problem. Some people withdraw from relationships when they become afraid of being hurt. Some clam up because they were hurt. Others make words but don’t share their deeper self.
There is a tremendous difference between mistakes in forgetting to say something and the choice to not talk. When refusing to discuss deeper matters becomes a way of life, the relationship becomes shallow. A spouse who finds himself in a relationship that demands sacrifices but is marked by silence will struggle if he is wanted only for ulterior motives.
Trust is an essential element in communication. If one spouse fears that what he says will be relayed elsewhere, then it seems better to keep things to oneself. If one is made fun of or scolded for sharing a very deep matter of the heart, then communication is hindered.
Immature married love can ride an emotional roller coaster of carnal actions and reactions.
There is much to be said about the early days of marriage. The relationship is fresh and new, but it is also full of adjustments. We all have our habits and cycles. Some rise early and attack the day with zest, but soon fade when evening comes. Others can hardly move out of bed, but make up for it with industrious service throughout the day.
We are not sure we totally understand the young married’s experiences in Song of Solomon, but what is described is easy to relate to. He thought she would quickly open the door for him and seems miffed when she responds too slowly. She finally is ready for him, but finds he has gone. She overreacts and impulsively goes in search for him. As she races through the city streets she is captured and embarrassed by officials.
Each person is full of longings and expectations. When these are not fully and quickly met it is normal to overreact. If there would have been more communication and each would have known the other better, the heartsickness of this story could have been avoided.
The tragedy is when young married people jump to long lasting conclusions about the supposed selfishness of their mate and close the door in their relationships. Many happy marriages of fifty years had times of disillusionment in the early days of immaturity. It seems to be a normal part of human experience.
Deeper, more mature love takes caution against overreacting to impulses of the moment. It builds a deeper relationship of trust and unity.
In a marriage relationship, each person should be treasured for who they are. Differences in nature and in upbringing should be talked out. A woman will naturally be more feeling oriented, while the man gravitates toward facts. When a man is kind to his wife’s feelings, then she will more quickly warm up to his cold facts. It is a wise man who chooses to slow down to think through what feelings are being created in his wife by the facts he is sharing.
Through sharing life together as years pass, a deep understanding develops. By treasuring differences a stronger unit is established. Many married couples can reflect with merriment over their early misunderstandings. They can laugh because they know they love and trust each other.
In long lasting relationships each will naturally feel stifled or held back in some of their dreams. Mature love can sort through that and realize not all dreams can come true. We accept the preferences of each other in a healthy blend.
When there has been a big misunderstanding, we should take time to talk it out so the heartache does not become a pattern.
For the sake of this writing we have imagined the details. But imagining is not communication. In fact it often stifles communication. When we assume we know the whole story, we stop listening.
Couples need to talk things out. They might need to give themselves some time so they are not as emotionally involved, but eventually they each need to share what their expectations were. They need to take the courage to be honest with their disappointments. The spouse will not understand and learn if each does not share how they felt. Then there needs to be consideration to listen. Only when each has fully shared and been understood is a platform laid for better cooperation in the future.
All marriages take work. Good marriages require work. Bad marriage relationships take more work.
We all marry humans. Because of this we should expect to have ups and downs. We should be prepared to work more at our own character than at our spouse’s character. We should see the marriage as an investment. We never quit trying to understand each other. If we quit trying to understand each other, we only produce a marriage that is a mockery of its intent.
One word of caution should be given as far as timing. A couple should set an evening curfew for when they will stop talking problems. Problems and differences all seem larger late at night. Nine o’clock is often late enough for talking about problems, and the day should end with positive discussion. Decide when is a good time to look at issues in the light of day when things don’t seem so out of control.
There are times when silence communicates trust and respect, or is needed to give one’s spouse time for God to work in their life.
When a marriage is divided, such as when one is a Christian and the other is an unbeliever, communication goes to a different level. There still should be communication about natural things, plans, events, etc, but the deepest concerns should not be brought up.
If a wife attempts to share her faith with the unbelieving husband, he will turn her off. She thinks she has never said this important concern before. He is sure he has heard it dozens of times and does not want to hear it again. The right thing is for her to take her concerns to the throne of grace and endeavor to live out her love and faith before him in day by day life.
Praying together over marriage needs and for each other’s needs will open the door to a deeper relationship and a supply of the grace of life.
We all need God’s help to make it through life. Every marriage needs divine grace in constant supply in order to blossom. When a man hears his wife pray that God would help him in his struggles with a problem he has, or even on how to get the bills paid, it helps him believe God is involved in their problem. When a woman hears her husband pray that God will give her wisdom in disciplining the children or in relating to her mother, she knows he really cares about her, and it is easier for her to believe God cares too.
Listening goes farther in communication than we may ever imagine. As Christians we are to develop the art of listening.
Good communicators develop the art of observing body language. When a person is becoming emotional, this is a sign to shift into the listening mode. When a person shares, whether you agree or disagree, the key is to tell him what you heard him say. You can say something like, “In other words, what I hear you say is...” When he believes you have heard him, then he will relax. You’ll be able to see it in the way he carries himself. When he is relaxed then you can venture another idea.
While it is normal and right for things to make you angry, it is not a good thing to act angry in your communication. You will say more than you intended to say, and what you say will be heard stronger than you intended. Your spouse will find himself pulling into his shell or else tempted to react with his own form of anger.
God made us with the ability, especially in our walk with Christ, to control and direct our anger. We dare not allow it to flare up and ruin family relationships. Confession of our faults to each other, is designed for two areas. First, it is for times when we have offended our loved ones. Secondly, it is for times when our marriage vow may be compromised and we need to get back on track.
The Word of God is clear. Sin survives in secrecy. The power of sin is in secrecy. When there is accountability and the couple is open with each other, Satan will find it very difficult to enter in.
Spouses need some direction here. If your partner has been involved in any of the sins that are listed in the “sins unto death,”-mortal sins then a simple confession to you is not enough. (See 1Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-6; Colossians 3:5-6) If for example the wife has indulged in witchcraft, or the husband in adultery, then the sin needs to be taken before the Lord through the sacrament of confession. Many other faults and struggles can be cleared between a person and his Lord, or between him and his spouse. But sins unto death (mortal sins) must be taken care of in the confessional.
The Bible is clear, we will be judged by our words. It is also true that we live by our words. When we speak carelessly and selfishly, our relationships will become strained. When we let our speech pass through the filter of Christian propriety, then our marriages and our homes will prosper.