Friday, November 14, 2014

"Sticks and stones may break my bones," but a lack of intimacy will hurt me too!

On Fridays I have started a series that is addressing the importance of modeling gospel driven marriages. God is the Architect of the brilliant plan to capture the hearts of the generations through His families (Malachi 4:6). God has designed the family to be the channel to pass on His plan for redemption to the next generation (Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 78:3-8). NBFamilies are working to discover providential opportunities where - traditional parents, single parents, grand parents, step parents, foster parents - can experience God’s life changing presence in their homes.

Let this sink in:
  • 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?

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.
  • Proverbs 18:13;
  • Proverbs 29:11;
  • Proverbs 12:18;
  • Ephesians 4:24-27;
  • James 1:19
Communication isn’t easy. When communication is successful it involves self-revelation on the part of one individual and active listening on the part of another. Not only does communication take a lot of time and effort, it is the one factor that can make or break a marriage.Research tells us that most men are less likely to labor at communicating. Also, most wives have more words to express themselves than do their husbands. Further, wives are regularly frustrated when their husbands are reluctant to converse with them. Although the process can be difficult, it is worth the effort.


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.
  1. ”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?”
    • ”Fine!”
    Clichés are not wrong, however, they are too shallow if they are not flavored with a genuine smile, a warm embrace, an intentional and sincere tone. Clichés have very shallow level of intimacy if they are the only means of communication between spouses. Deeper needs of intimacy will not be met with clichés alone.

  • “Just the Facts.” Facts alone serve to deliver accurate information. All healthy relationships require exchanges of facts.
      “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.”
    Accurate information Is critical for a young family to function. Further, information and the need to communicate facts increases exponentially as a family grows and becomes more active (jobs, school responsibilities, sports participation, church involvement, etc.). If the level of “just the facts” is the only level of communication that is ever experienced, the relationship can appear to be only a task or a duty. This level of communication is not enough for a growing relationship.

  • "Feelings:" Feelings are often fickle. They can change based upon minor adjustments and a tweaked understanding. Feelings sometimes cannot be trusted. However, feelings can reveal important realities. Feeling shouldn’t be ignored. When a spouse communicates a feeling, they are making themselves transparent and vulnerable. Indeed, communicating feelings requires making ourselves vulnerable. Feelings must not be invalidated by the other spouse. This is a prescription for mounting frustration and eventual withdrawal or stonewalling from future intimacy. Although feelings are often erratic and unpredictable, they also express a deeper level of trust and intimacy that must be treated with care and concern.

  • “Opinions and Convictions.” Opinions and convictions are what motivates us to action. Your spouse has a unique view. They have a perspective that desires to be heard and appreciated. Your spouse yearns for you to know not just what they think, but why they think that way. Convictions are often expressed with passion. When you can tap into your spouses excitement and enthusiasm, you have won. Spouses have a need to know, with certainty, that their perspective is known and valued. They crave to be assured that they bring significance to the relationship. When opinions and convictions are expressed, even if the other spouse does not share the same view, it is wise for the other spouse to pay attention and take notice. This is a deeper level of intimacy. This is when a spouse feels affirmed and valued.

  • “Communicating Needs.” Communicating needs is the deepest level of communication. Spouses, based upon bad past exchanges, tend to shy away from conflict. Neither spouse wants to trouble or inconvenience one another. In an effort to keep peace, each spouse will let other spouse’s needs supersede his or her own. Over time, and more bad exchanges and conflicts, some spouses find it difficult to articulate their needs, their personal goals, and their own desires. Instead, they rely on “mind-reading,” believing their partners should intuitively know what they need without them having to say anything. This is also a prescription for mounting frustration and eventual withdrawal or stonewalling from future intimacy.

  • 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:

    1. Mistakes are made,
    2. Grace is offered,
    3. Forgiveness is experienced,
    4. Repentance causes change and
    5. Mercy is enjoyed!
    The gospel response is always the best response and this is how our kid’s faith will be influenced. Is it time to have a conversation with you spouse and begin living a gospel centered marriage? That is my prayer for you. God bless our marriages!
    Dr. Phil Sallee, Pastor

    No comments:

    Post a Comment