Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 13 “Healthy Communication”+ LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 13 "Healthy Communication" - "Communication is to a relationship what blood is to the human body. Communication nourishes and sustains a relationship. Remove it, and you no longer have a relationship." The Bible has much to say about the importance of healthy communication and the results of bad communication. James said the tongue can be "set on fire by hell." So, how can couples grow and become more intentional when it comes to healthy communication?“Communication is to a relationship what blood is to the human body. Communication nourishes and sustains a relationship. Remove it, and you no longer have a relationship.”

The Bible has much to say about the importance of healthy communication and the results of bad communication. James said the tongue can be “set on fire by hell.” So, how can couples grow and become more intentional when it comes to healthy communication?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 13 “Healthy Communication”

 

We’re in a series on God’s design for marriage. If you haven’t read the previous posts in this series, you can read them here. In today’s post we’ll talk about the importance of regular, healthy communication to a thriving marriage.

The authors of Family Life’s book Preparing for Marriage have this to say about communication:

Communication is to a relationship what blood is to the human body. Communication nourishes and sustains a relationship. Remove it, and you no longer have a relationship.

No wonder marriage counselors everywhere, constantly, hear the lament, “We just don’t communicate!” Even when there are other serious issues, lack of communication worsens them. Few people learn to communicate, solve problems and resolve conflict well, unless they are purposeful and determined to do so.

Even couples with great marriages will, often, tell you, they didn’t start out knowing how to communicate. Many will admit to years of struggle and heartache in this area. Couples who thought they could talk about anything during their dating time can find themselves hurt, angry, and frustrated as they move into the early years of marriage.

But sadly, if we don’t learn to communicate well, those feelings can grow and last for years. Those couples may resort to living separate lives or they may simply divorce.

 

Healthy Communication or Evil Communication

 

The Bible talks about all kinds of communication, not all of it healthy!

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise (Prov. 10.19).

An angry man stirs up strife,
And a furious man abounds in transgression (Prov. 29.22).

Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool (Prov. 10.18).

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman (Prov. 21.9).

James said this in chapter 3 of his epistle:

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

So while communication is vital, it’s important how we communicate. We can allow our tongues to be used for good or for evil. How many marriages have been burned to the ground by tongues loaded with the fire of hell?!  Continue reading

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 6 “Weaving 101” + LINKUP

 

Marriage Made in Heaven "Weaving 101" - We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we're struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?Weaving: We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we’re struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?

We’ve been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Last week we started talking about “weaving” and today we’re going to go a little deeper on the subject.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving 101”

 

As you remember, our foundation Scripture is:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As I’ve said, the three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage. They are “leaving,” “cleaving,” and “weaving (becoming one-flesh)”

Three weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Two weeks ago, we talked about cleaving, including the fact that marriage is a covenant relationship.

Last week we began discussing what it means to become one-flesh.

Again, this one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically. It’s a sharing of everything: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures.

 

2 Kinds of Math: “1 + 1 = 2” or “1 + 1 = 1”

 

Because my husband and I have done so much marriage counseling over the years, we often notice how couples interact with one another. One of the saddest things we’ve observed is how often older couples go to a restaurant for dinner and eat the entire meal with hardly a word exchanged between them.

How does a couple who were once newlyweds, excited about marriage and each other, become so distant they can spend a hour sitting across the table with nothing to say? It happens one day, one choice at a time.

When God said, “they shall become one flesh,” we could say God’s marriage math is “1 + 1 = 1. That kind of math doesn’t happen by default. It takes effort. It takes laying down pride and selfishness. It takes making the time to communicate. It takes putting the other person’s preferences ahead of your own. And it takes being vulnerable and open to change.

Sin, selfishness, and pride are the enemies of a one flesh relationship. And without God’s help to change us from the inside out (2 Cor. 5.17), we are all selfish and prideful at our core. Even as believers in Christ, we’ve got to choose to put off pride and selfishness and to do those things that contribute to a strong, thriving marriage (Lk. 9.23-24).

But with many couples, the process of weaving never really happens or it gets short-circuited along the way.

Sometimes short-circuiting begins almost before the honeymoon is over.  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 16: 4 Rules of Communication + LINKUP

Hi Everyone, I apologize. Some code must be corrupted in this post. I have tried everything to eliminate it. Removing photos, redoing things. Nothing seems to help. But the linkup is working.

 

Last week in Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust we talked about the two major pitfalls into which parents in blended families fall: either becoming overly focused on the children’s outward behavior or turning their children into victims. Today we’re going to talk about biblical communication and God’s methodology for change.

Some children in blended families adjust quickly and easily, but others struggle with fear, worry, anger, and loyalty conflicts.

Children may be angry about losing their position in the family, losing the dream of their original family being restored, unwanted changes, jealousy toward new step-siblings or any number of other things.

One of the most important skills in overcoming anger and building good relationships is learning how to communicate in a loving, God-honoring way. Ephesians 4 contains some of the clearest passages on the subject of communication. The principles can be summed up in 4 easy to understand “rules” that you can apply and teach your children.

 

4 Rules of Communication

 

  • Be honest.
  • Keep current.
  • Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Act, don’t react.

 

Be Honest.

 

Ephesians 4.25 says:

Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Sounds simple enough, but being honest is more that just not telling a lie. It’s, also, more than blurting out the unadulterated truth. It involves being open and transparent in a loving way.

The first part of being honest is to communicate. “Let each of you speak …”

The second part is to speak truth. It’s not enough to just “not lie.” We must also speak truth.

For example: If, after you and your husband agreed not to make any unnecessary purchases, you put those shoes you wanted on your credit card, slipped them into the house when you’re husband wasn’t home, and simply never brought it up, you may not have lied, but your weren’t being honest either.

Our children need to understand the same principle. Instead of just punishing them for not telling you about a bad grade, sit down and explain why it’s wrong from God’s Word. Let them know that you struggle with living God’s way, too. Use it as an opportunity to teach them how much we need His help to live His way. Turn it into a gospel moment.

Whether they listen attentively or roll their eyes, you’re planting seeds.

So we and our children are to speak and to speak truth, but we must also learn to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4.15 says:

[B]ut, speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.

For example: If your child grew up learning to make his bed and keep his room reasonably neat and now shares a room with a step-sibling who doesn’t seem to know what a clothes hanger or a hamper is, the answer isn’t to tell his sibling he’s a slob.

Instead, help him learn to pray (another gospel moment) and ask God for wisdom about talking to his brother. It could be something like, “Hey, I’m not crazy about cleaning the room either. I used to resent it when my mom made me stay home until I did. But I learned it’s easier to just get it over with. It looks better when my friends come to hang out, too. Can I give you a hand?”

So rule #1 is: “Be honest.” Speak. Speak the truth. Speak the truth in love.  Continue reading

A Wise or Foolish Woman: The Tongue & Ears

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 2: The Tongue & EarsThe Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 2

The Tongue & Ears

 

woman of God

As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.

 

wise woman

Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1  which says:

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

 

wisdom

Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!

Today we’ll begin looking at some of the specific things God has to say about wisdom, beginning with “the tongue” and the ears, how well we listen.  Continue reading

“Squabbling, Bragging, & Sleeping” May 4

 

Squabbling, Bragging & Sleeping - The Disciples still didn't get it! While Jesus was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling about their future positions in the kingdom, bragging about how they would never let Him down, and sleeping when He asked them to pray.The Disciples still didn’t get it! While Jesus was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling about their future positions in the kingdom, bragging about how they would never let Him down, and sleeping when He asked them to pray.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 10 & 11
Psalm 55.16-23
Proverbs 15.18-20
Luke 22.24-46

 

Luke 22.24-46:

Squabbling, bragging, and sleeping

Do you ever feel like you have messed up too badly for God to use you? Maybe it’s your “before Christ” past you’re worried about. But for others, it may be something you have done as a Christian. Sometimes it’s easier for us to believe God has forgiven us for our “before Christ” past than it is to receive His forgiveness and grace for our sin as believers.

Here in Luke 22 the events leading up to the crucifixion are taking place. Jesus has spent three years teaching and preparing the disciples.

Yet while He was preparing Himself for the reality of the cross they were squabbling over their future positions in the kingdom (v. 24), bragging about how they would never let Him down (v. 33) and falling asleep when He asked them to pray (vv. 45-46). But just as He does with us when we fail, He lovingly corrected them, warned them of the dangers to come, and prayed for them that ultimately they would come out the other side.

That doesn’t mean we should use His grace as an excuse to sin (Rom. 6.1). And even while, God forgives us and keeps working in our lives, He does discipline His disobedient children (Heb. 12.6).

But Hebrews 7.25 reminds us, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

So cast your cares and burdens on Him. Pray and know that He is praying for You. Just as He told Peter, Satan may desire to sift us as wheat, but He has prayed that our faith should not fail (Lk. 22.31-32). And receive His forgiveness and help to change when you have fallen. It is for this that Christ died!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

1 Samuel 10 & 11:

By the way … bless me!

prayer womanNow Israel has her king and God has confirmed His choice through military victory, but that doesn’t mean it was God’s best for the nation. I believe there are times when God allows political events to bring about His holy, just and righteous purposes. Often, if not always, those purposes include revealing the hearts of the people involved. The Israelites wanted to be like all the other nations. They didn’t want God to be their King. Instead, they wanted Him to bless their choice to live like everyone else.

How like us they were! Too often, instead of seeking God’s will in a given situation through prayer and wise counsel, we make our own choices and then, almost as an afterthought, we ask Him to bless our decision. I wonder how different things would be if we got on His agenda, instead of always expecting Him to come bless ours! Continue reading

Relationships: “We can’t communicate about anything!”

 

We can't communicate about anything!Welcome to Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible and on other subjects related to living the Christian life. My “day job” is biblical counseling. I’m an ACBC certified counselor. I meet with couples, families and individuals to help them find God’s answers for the issues and struggles they face.

Besides meeting with people formally, I am frequently asked questions at church or by email. I’ll be answering some of those questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like to see answered (using only a first name or initial) you can submit it here.

 

TODAY’S QUESTION:

From John:

My wife and I have huge communication issues. We don’t seem to be able to communicate about anything! It seems like everything is an issue with her and I don’t usually react the way I should. We fight about the kids, my friends, her family, my family … you name it! I think she’s too critical and she says I’m too selfish. We both know we shouldn’t be talking to each other like that, but we don’t know where to start to fix it.
Continue reading

Strengthening Your Marriage Audio Series

marriage

Would you like to strengthen your marriage or prepare for a strong marriage in the future?

Is there room for improvement in your communication?

Do you have trouble resolving conflict with your spouse?

Would you like clarity about the role of the husband and the wife?

Do you avoid intimacy or wish that area of life was more like you imagined?

My husband and I recently taught a marriage series called “STRENGTHENING YOUR MARRIAGE” in one of our adult Bible classes. I wanted to share the link in case you would like to listen to them.

Here is a list of the sessions:

  • God’s Design for Marriage
  • God’s Design for the Husband/the Husband’s Role
  • God’s Design for the Wife/the Wife’s Role
  • Strengthening Your Communication
  • Anger & Conflict Resolution
  • Sexual Intimacy

Class outlines are available, too.

“STRENGTHENING YOUR MARRIAGE” audios & notes

May God strengthen your marriage or prepare you for your future one.

In Him,
Donna

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