The root of most communication issues within a marriage is attitude. Some will say “perspective,” or looking into the others “point of view,” or even stepping into “their shoes,” are the best ways to help you and I communicate to our spouses. However, theses solutions are still firmly planted outside of one’s self. They run the risk of neglecting personal responsibility for one’s actions and lead to behaviors and attitudes that are motivated by what one gets in return, i.e. “If I make sure to always say something like ________ and smile or do _______ then my spouse seems more receptive to my request for ________.” This is not communication but rather manipulation.
If I want better communication (or anything else for that matter) in my marriage, then I must begin with myself. What must I do to communicate effectively as a husband/wife. It is vital that I understand that “I” am responsible for my communication at all times. We teach our children that their brother cannot “make” them hit him by his actions or words. In the same way, you or I cannot be “made” to treat our spouses unkindly by how our spouses treat us. I must decide that I want to communicate lovingly and respectfully no matter what.
The main attitude that I need to have is Love. I know you’re thinking “duh,” but I’m not speaking of your love for my spouse, and certainly not that “self-love” mumbo jumbo of our modern times. You and I must love God, and possess His Love if we are to truly love others. The Word of God teaches that He is love (1 John 4:8), and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that, upon faith in Jesus the Messiah, we can love because Love comes to dwell inside us and make us new. Love, God the Holy Spirit, comes and begins to enable us to live in His power and His ways and those ways are full of love.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus, you can know Him today! Call on him, ask him to reveal himself to you, read His words (The Bible) and see what He has to say about Himself. See what he has to say about you and I, that we are both “sinners” (beings who by nature sin-disobey God). God’s command in relationships is “love.” You can look for help in your marriage and find some ways to “get along” and learn to “live with” another person, but the Love that each one of us searches for and truly needs is in Jesus. He is Love and through Him you will be empowered to love others.
The more we love as God directs and enables, the better our communication, and everything else, in marriage will be. The question becomes not, “how can I love her/him” but rather, “how can I share the love of God with her/him.” And our communication becomes prefaced in prayer, “Lord Jesus, help me lovingly communicate with my spouse.”
I must come to know deep down that all of my relationships on this earth will fail or succeed (on my part) based on how my relationship with my creator is failing or succeeding. If I am walking in the Spirit to live in God’s ways, do I check him at the door with my coat, or does He have free reign over my attitude toward my spouse. At the risk of aging myself (and also sounding corny), “W.W.J.D.?” (What Would Jesus Do?)
I could spend months, years and even decades, trying to better different aspects of my marriage. And usually, if I’m willing to admit it, I want something better in my marriage, because I want something. But if I’m willing to let the Lord Jesus reign in my life, then I’ll be able to Love in all areas, including communication. For I have a great God who has forgiven me of much sin, and how can I not love my spouse who could never wrong me as much as I’ve wronged God? How can I not walk in grace toward my spouse, since I’ve been given so much grace from Him? How can I make my spouse the enemy in an argument, when I was an enemy of God and He died for me because he loves me?
If we are to lovingly communicate, we must know Love – His name is Jesus. If we, as followers of Jesus, are to grow in loving communication we must grow in loving Jesus; walking with him, talking with Him, listening to Him, and learning the messages He’s already spoken to us – The Bible.
I find in my marriage that when I spend more time with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I am more kind, loving, aware, respectful, and patient with my spouse (no matter her attitude at the time). I also find, that when I spend time in the things of this world, or thinking about the things “I’d like” or that “I want” I am more short, rude, snippy, and even hateful at times (no matter her attitude at the time). Perhaps this is why Paul would write so often, “The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, be with you!”
About the Author:
Jacob is a native Oklahoman, who has been transplanted to southern Indiana. He serves as the Elder devoted to Teaching (aka Senior Minister) with the Medora Christian Church in Medora, IN. He has been married to his wife, Annette of In All You Do, for 13 years. Together they are raising their four children to know and love their Lord. Jacob enjoys reading his Bible and learning from the Holy Spirit. To unwind, he plays the Wii with his boys – Lego Star Wars & Lego Pirates of the Caribbean are their favorites. His new favorite strategy game is Star Trek. Despite his wife’s encouragement, he has not yet started his own blog. So until then, you can listen to his weekly sermons on the Medora Christian Church YouTube channel.