Let this sink in:
Our kids observe how we speak to each other. They also evaluate how invested their parents are in one another, based upon how they perceive they communicate. Communication, especially in marriage, is so important that it is frequently addressed in Scripture. Read these passages to be reminded that the Bible extols the value of communication.
- Our kid’s hearts are being shaped by observing our marriages.
- Our kid’s faith is being influenced by observing how we treat each other as husband and wife.
- Our kid’s faith, their ability to trust, their sense of safety and security, is either being bolstered or being destroyed every day, as they watch us.
- Since marriage is a metaphor for God’s love for His church, (Ephesians 5:25-32) what are our kids learning as they study how we relate to one another?
- Proverbs 18:13;
- Proverbs 29:11;
- Proverbs 12:18;
- Ephesians 4:24-27;
- James 1:19
There are several increasingly intimate levels of communication. Each spouse has a profound need to be heard at the deepest levels. Sadly, spouses will settle for the shallowest levels of communication. Most couples start off with a soaring, positive, intimate level of communication. Neither person can ever imagine the relationship disintegrating into a superficial rut. But, unknowingly, this slippery slope will happen if a couple isn’t intentional about maintaining intimate levels of communication Desirable, confirming, cherished communication is the reason why couples will fall in love and want to get married.However, over time, monotony, anger, irritation, and resentment build up to the point that neither couple wants to risk being vulnerable and transparent at a more intimate level. When words get interpreted more and more negatively, when expressions, which are said in a neutral tone, are misinterpreted and taken personally, when a value neutral comment starts another battle, the couple is in serious trouble. If a couple cannot communicate at an intimate level in the future is bleak. Divorce is not the solution, but it begins to look like a better option than existing in a shallow, bitter, and hostile marriage. There is a solution. It is intimate Gospel-like communication.
Take a moment, right now, and evaluate the depth of intimacy in your conversations with your spouse. The healthiest marriages share a deep sense of meaning and purpose. They are not content with just “getting along.” They support each other’s hopes and dreams and build a sense of purpose into their lives together. Read the levels of communication intimacy below. If you discover that you are communicating at shallow level, you are going to want to share this list with your spouse and have an uncomfortable conversation about returning to a deeper level of intimacy.
- ”Clichés.” Clichés serve to acknowledge someone’s presence, but they have little essential meaning or intimacy. Clichés are value neutral and zero depth of intimacy. Examples of clichés between spouses are:
- “Good morning (night)!”
- “Hi, hello, hey there.”
- “How are you?”
- “What time you getting up in the morning?”
- “When are you getting home from work?”
- “Can you pick up the kids from school?”
- “Let’s meet for dinner at 6:00.”
- “I have to work late.”
If “communicating needs” is the deepest level of communication, then spouses must be intentional about making time for it. It is worth the risk of inconvenience, trouble, or conflict to address your needs. When needs are unmet and expressing them is stuffed then tension and dissatisfaction will build. It will create feelings of chronic anger and contempt towards your spouse. Tension, dissatisfaction, anger, and contempt are conditions that will invariably lead to the failure of your relationship. To keep your marraige strong and growing, it’s up to both spouses to make your needs clearly known.
Jesus doesn't promise you will always have perfect intimacy in your marriage, but He promises you can have an eternal anchor for your soul: THE GOSPEL (John 16:33). Our kids need to see what it looks like to follow Christ more than they need to hear what we say it is like to follow Christ. Parents are the models of following Christ. This is no easy task. Yet there is no better way to teach them than to show them. Our kids need to see us struggle, mess up, yet reply with gospel centered reaction.
Our responses to one another, especially in the arguments, must be graceful and gospel centered:
- Mistakes are made,
- Grace is offered,
- Forgiveness is experienced,
- Repentance causes change and
- Mercy is enjoyed!
|Dr. Phil Sallee, Pastor|