The Heart of Marriage
Dennis & Jill Eenigenburg
9. What are God’s Principles for Communication?
I. Communication functions best in a positive atmosphere. Ephesians 5:33
A. When a husband rightly loves his wife he creates a positive atmosphere for communication.
B. When a wife is rightly respecting her husband she creates a positive atmosphere for communication.
It has been said that men and women breathe different types of oxygen. The wife is sustained by the oxygen of her husband’s love. Her husband is sustained by the oxygen of his wife’s respect. When these elements are lacking, great stress is felt in the marriage as each longs for that which nurtures them emotionally.
II. Communication functions best with the right message and the right methods. Ephesians 4:29
A. It is never appropriate to use words that are crude or hurtful.
B. It is always appropriate to carefully evaluate the need of the moment.
C. It is always appropriate to treat one another with grace.
D. It is always appropriate to speak the truth.
E. It is always appropriate to speak in love.
Before we begin the process toward a more godly style of communication we need to pull out the darts we have inflicted on each other over the years. Sometimes we also add poison to our verbal attacks. We say the words, “always” or “never.” We call each other derogatory names.
Each of us needs to ask our spouse from time to time if they have wounds that need to be resolved. We remove the painful darts when we ask forgiveness and stop repeating the offense. Once the dart is removed the healing can begin.
To prevent future verbal injury, we must speak the truth in love.
III. Communication works best with a Spirit-controlled tongue. (Speaking)
A. The flesh-controlled tongue is out of control James 1:26, 3:6, 3:8
B. The Spirit-controlled tongue is under God’s control. James 3:2, 3:10-11, 1:25
C. The Spirit-controlled tongue expresses itself with wisdom.
1. The Spirit-controlled tongue uses words wisely Colossians 3:16-17
2. The Spirit-controlled tongue measures timing wisely. Proverbs 15:23
3. The Spirit-controlled tongue uses silence wisely. Proverbs 10:19
4. The Spirit-controlled tongue always responds to insults wisely. 1 Peter 3:9
5. The Spirit-controlled tongue is used wisely as an instrument of praise to God. Colossians 3:16-17
6. The Spirit-controlled tongue wisely communicates love. Song of Solomon 4:10
Heart of Marriage Communication Tips:
Experts in communications say that a large percentage of communication is non-verbal. If you wish to communicate effectively consider the following non-verbal communication tips:
• Make sure the tone and volume of you voice is appropriate and pleasant.
• Make sure your body language in not threatening but relaxed.
• If possible make eye contact with your spouse.
• Chose a time and place that is appropriate for the topic discussed.
IV. Communication works best with Spirit-controlled ears. (Listening)
A. The flesh-controlled ears do not hear well. Hebrews 5:11, James 1:22-24
Heart of Marriage Tips:
Negative listening habits to be avoided:
• The habit of pretending to be listening while thinking of other things.
• The habit of interrupting or talking over the other person.
• The habit of refusing to listen to criticism or negative feedback.
• The habit of reacting without seeking to understand the others point of view.
B. Spirit-controlled ears hear well.
1. Spirit-controlled ears are responsive to the Word of God James 1:25
2. Spirit-controlled ears are responsive to one’s spouse. James 1:19
Heart of Marriage Listening Tips:
• Give your spouse your undivided attention.
• Communicate acceptance with friendly body language.
• Ask questions to make sure you understand what is being said.
• Don’t interrupt the other person.
• Make meaningful responses.
• Make eye contact.
V. Communication works best when we adjust for one another’s differences in communication styles.
Communication styles differ based on the temperaments and personalities of individuals. It is not unusual for people with different communication styles to be attracted to each other and marry. In a general sense, we observe some people to be task oriented and others people oriented. Some people live life at a fast pace and some at a slow pace. Some people find it difficult to express their emotions and some find it difficult to suppress their emotions. Some people are very talkative others are people of few words.
Fact-Oriented Emotion Oriented
Few Words Many Words
A. What are counter-productive ways to handle differences of communication styles?
1. Do not ridicule or criticize your spouse’s style of communication.
2. Do not try to force your mate to use your style of communication.
3. Do not react to the other person’s emotions with your facts.
4. Do not react to the other person’s facts with your emotions.
B. What are productive ways to handle differences of communication styles?
1. Affirm the strengths of one another’s communication styles.
2. In love seek to accommodate and adjust to each other’s styles.
3. Respond to emotional expression with an encouraging emotional response.
4. Respond to factual expression with positive factual response.
We need to apply love to our adjustment to each other’s communication styles. Philippians 2:4
How does the spouse of “many words” show love to the spouse of “few words?” Love is shown by intentionally coming to the point more directly and limiting the embellishment of the conversation.
How does the spouse of “few words” show love to the spouse of “many words”? Love is shown by intentionally adding more details to give the other person a fuller description of the setting and feeling related to the issue being presented.
C. How do gender differences affect communications in marriage?
1. Women generally have a high felt need for conversation.
This may not be true in your marriage but it is generally true in a vast majority of marriages. The implication is clear. Women usually have a higher felt need for conversation than do men.
2. Men generally do not have a high felt need for conversation.
“You husbands likewise live with your wives in an understanding way” I Peter 3:7
VI. Communications works best when it promotes transparency.
In the exclusive bond of marriage there exists the potential to enjoy the most transparent and intimate of relationships. The physical oneness in marriage is achieved through the joining of two bodies. Emotional and spiritual oneness is the joining of our souls. In order to experience this oneness we need to be more and more open and transparent in our conversations. Harsh, critical and demeaning conversation undermines trust and closes the heart in self-protection. Loving, kind, encouraging words build trust, and promote ever-increasing openness and oneness.
A. Marital transparency can mirror our transparency with God.
There is in the human heart a desire to be deeply known and still be deeply loved. It is yearning that comes from the ideal experience of the first couple that were fully known and loved by God and fully known and loved by each other.
B. Marital transparency increases oneness with one’s spouse.
1. Spiritual transparency is developed when couples converse with God together.
2. Emotional transparency is developed when couples earn trust and verbally open their hearts to each other.
• Verbal openness includes trusting each other enough to share your opinions.
• Verbal openness includes trusting each other enough to share your feelings.
• Verbal openness includes trusting each other enough to share your dreams and aspirations.
• Verbal openness includes trusting each other enough to share your failures and weaknesses.
Emotional transparency allows us to share our most intimate thoughts and feelings with someone who loves us unconditionally and will rejoice with us when we rejoice and will weep with us when we weep.
WARNING: Emotional transparency requires trust. If either betrays this trust, the door of openness and emotional intimacy will close.
What are some ways emotional transparency could be betrayed?
Take it to Heart
List three strengths in the area of communications you enjoy with your spouse:
List three weaknesses that need improvement in your communication with your spouse.