In the past, when I was still courting with Hubby, I was recommended to read ‘Strengthening Your Marriage, written by Wayne A. Mack’ by Rev Samuel Ling. He said that the book is not only good for married couples, but also for dating couples. So I bought the book and decided to read through it with Hubby whenever we met up for a date. It took us about three months to finish the whole book.
The book is rich with biblical insights, and practical information on marital roles, communication, finances, sex, child rearing and family worship. It has ‘Discussion and Study Questions’ section in every chapter to guide us in our discussion.
During our discussions, Hubby and I came to know more about each others’ family backgrounds, expectations and goal in marriage. We also managed to come in agreement regarding many things to prevent conflicts in the future. And last but not least, we had the opportunity to discuss on how we are going to work out our marriage to glorify God.
Please let me share with you one of the chapters that I found very useful. It is about good communication. You might not married yet at the moment, but trust me, it is still applicable in your friendship, and will be very useful for your courtship and future marriage. Happy reading! =)
Unit 4 – Good Communication.
Deep oneness can be achived only where good communication exists.
A. No two people can effectively walk together, work together, or live together without a good communications system.
Scripture asks, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Wherever you find two people who are continuously and harmoniously walking together, striving toward the same goals, conducting their lives according to the same standards, giving mutual assistance, enjoying sweet fellowship with one another, you can be sure that they are in agreement. And if they are in agreement, you can be sure that they have learned to communicate with one another. Continuous, progressive harmony and agreement are impossible without good communication.
B. Certainly, apart from our relationship to Himself, God intends the marriage relationship to be the closest of all interpersonal relationships.
Dwight Hervey Small declares in his book, After You’ve Said I do, that “the heart of marriage is its communication system…It can be said that the success and happiness of any married pair is measurable in terms of the deepening dialogue which characterizes their union.”
Whenever you find marital failure, you will find a breakdown in real communication. Wherever you find marital success, you will find a good communication system.
1. Surely, one of the basic reqirements of good communications is mutual openness and honesty.
Often in marriage conselling, a counsellor will hear words such as these: “I did not know you felt that way”, or “I did not know such and such a thing was important for you.”
For example, a couple who have been married for many years…finally they swallow their pride and approach thie pastor about their problem. The pastor probs a bit and then asks the wife to describe what it is about her husband that annoys her. She gulps, screws up her courage, and begins to share some little things that have been bothering her for years. When she is finished, her husband responds by saying, “Honey, why didn’t you tell me about these things before? I did not know that this is what was bothering you. I thought it was…” At this point the pastor, knowing that there are two sides to every story, turns to the husband and asks him to describe what has been annoying him. The husband opens up and shares what has been annoying him, to which the wife replies, “That’s what has been bothering you? I didn’t know. Why didn’t you talk to me about these things?”
They did not know one another because they were holding back, refusing to open up and allow themselves to be known. Probably they began to do this for what they thought were good reasons—they did not want to stir up a fuss; they did not want to hurt the other person; it was such a small thing; the other person may get angry or reject me. In the end…unresolved little issues had been blown out of proportion, and an accumulation of little issues had been formed a large, invisible barrier between them.
2. “Be angry and sin not; do not ever let your wrath—your exasperation—last until the sun goes down. Leave no such room or foothold for the devil—give no opportunity to him.” Eph 4:26-27. Amplified Version.
On the one hand, there are times when it is right to deal with the problem by really covering, disregarding, forgiving, or forgetting the fault or annoyance of the other person (1Pet 4:8, Prov 10:12, 1Cor 13:5,7).
If, however, this cannot or should not be done (because it would bring reproach on Christ or harm to each other) the issue must be lovingly and boldly faced, discussed, and, if possible, resolved.
Several biblical principles must guide us in the exercise of openness and honesty.
- Is it really true? Do I really have the facts (Eph 4:29; Prov 18:13)?
- Is what I would like to say profitable? Will it help or hurt? Be constructive or destructive (Prov 20:15; Eph 4:29; Rom 15:1-3)?
- Is this the proper time for me to say it, or would it be better for me to wait (Prov 15:23, 28; 25:11-12)?
- Is my attitude right (Eph 4:15, 32; 1Cor 16:14; Titus 3:1-2)?
- Are the words that I will use the best possible way to saying it (Prov 12:25; 15:1, 23; 16:23)?
- Have I prayed about this matter, and am I trusting God to help me (Prov 3:5-6; Col 4:2-6)?
As I have already stated, no couple can really become one without openness and honesty in communication. At the same time, it must be the right kind of openness and honesty. Otherwise, it will destroy rather than enhance good relations.
To be continued…