When couples understand and commit themselves to the process of communication, good things happen, not only in the lives of the marriage partners, but also for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
But what is communication, what is its foundation and how is it achieved?
What is Communication?
Communication is an exchange of thoughts and ideas between two partners. Communication is not about getting your point across, it’s about hearing and understanding what the OTHER person has to say.
In this you acknowledge their right to make a contribution. Even though you may not agree with what is being said, you don’t allow yourself to become angry or frustrated, because you know that in the initial stages of conversation, CLARITY is the goal not agreement.
After clarity, then HARMONY.
Harmony is about the complimentary aspects of two different yet distinct notes. Gaining exact agreement is not necessarily the goal. Finding the complimentary aspect of two distinct ideas is. Harmony ensues when each person is allowed to express how they feel without being condemned and where both partners work to find harmony within the context of their thoughts and feelings.
Harmony is not about concession or compromise. Harmony is a give-give scenario, not a give-take scenario. Each partner gives their own contribution and then work towards finding a harmonious solution.
The Foundation of Communication
There is only ONE foundation in a Christian marriage. That is Christ and the teachings of the Bible. Marriage partners must agree to submit themselves to the instruction of the Bible.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11
We teach our children the way the Bible says. We speak to each other the way the Bible says. We treat each other the way the Bible says. Our goal in marriage is to submit our lives and wills to the authority of Jesus Christ.
In all of this our ATTITUDE should be the same as Jesus Christ— humble, serving one another.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your ATTITUDE should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross.Philippians 2:3-8
To achieve this we need to study to show ourselves approved in marriage. Each spouse should work to understand what the Bible has to say about every aspect of their marriage and then follow it. Only in this way can God bless our marriages.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
How is Communication Achieved?
First clarity, then harmony, then agreement.
Strife in marriage occurs when one partner or both are not allowed to make their contribution. Either one partner speaks over the other striving to GAIN respect or one partner speaks over the other refusing to GIVE respect.
In either case, the ATTITUDE of Christ is not prevalent and the steps of clarity, harmony, then agreement are not being followed.
What happens when harmony cannot be achieved? And what does agreement in harmony actually look like?
What Happens When Harmony Cannot Be Achieved?
When harmony cannot be achieved in communication, the conversation STOPS. No one needs to be mad at the other. Partners just agree to disagree and take the matter to the Lord. God can soften the heart of one or illuminate the heart of the other, but the Lord must be given prevalence in a stand still. Christ is the center of the relationship, trust Him to make it work.
The conversation stops, because there is a Biblical precedence for doing so. Consider the following words:
When words are many, SIN is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.Proverbs 10:19
Our desire to be right or have it our own way pushes us to say more than we should. We have to be aware of the Devil and his schemes. One of his schemes is to have us say more than we should. We MUST follow the instruction of the Bible if we are to be successful in communication.
What Does Agreement in Harmony Look Like?
Consider a couple talking about the need to purchase a car. One partner may want to buy a Jeep, whereas the other partner may prefer a Mazda Miata. Harmony is achieved in that both want to buy a car. In this they agree. But which of these two cars should they buy?
To find final agreement, often other factors must be considered. Can we afford a new car? Would a used car be better? How much money do we have?
When all the factors have been considered, the least invasive decision should rule. In other words, if finances are an issue, agreement can be achieved by choosing the least expensive car.
Again in whatever issue you and your spouse are discussing, it may take many passes to find agreement on a final action. Take the time to listen, find clarity and harmonize. Stop and go to the Lord if needed. But don’t argue. Let God redirect and show you BOTH His best answer in any given situation.
When agreement is achieved in marriage everyone benefits. Your marriage thrives and God’s Kingdom is advanced. People see God working in your life. To God be the glory!