Last week I was privileged to sit under the teaching of one of my favorite preachers. Since he is my medical doctor and not a pastor, he will probably not be remembered as the great preacher that he truly is.
He was preaching to a group of pastors and missionaries and the title of his sermon was Communication in Marriage. These seven points were only a small portion of the whole message. I hope they are an encouragement to you as they were to me.
Seven Steps of Communication
Try to understand your mate
Men and women communicate differently. Men, when you come home from the office and your wife is sitting on the floor crying, it is important to her that you sit on the floor with her and cry before you pull out your list of steps to solve the problem. After you cry together, then she is willing to listen to your 4 point outline.
When men have a problem, they are looking for solutions. It can be frustrating to him to hear his wife say, “I understand the problem” without offering a solution.
Learn how to communicate in their language. (The above illustrations are generalities. You need to learn how your own mate communicates.)
Learn to talk
Talk through your problems and don’t retreat to past arguments. Don’t get historical. Some people remember an argument from decades ago that they are still holding over their mate.
Learn to attack the problem not the person
If you feel you are only 10% wrong and your spouse is 90% wrong, then be willing to admit your 10% failure. It will usually result in your mate admitting theirs. However, if you hold on to the one or two things you have right and ignore your own faults then it escalates the problem.
Don’t fight with your mate. Fight with the problem and find a solution together.
Give your partner a chance to save face
When negotiating in business there is usually a way for a company to back out of a deal honorably. When one company uses strong-arm tactics and forces another to do their bidding it is an unhealthy partnership. Don’t become the bully or monopolistic person in your marriage. When you make blanket statements and make your mate feel like they have no power to negotiate, they are going to go into survival mode and find any way out—even if it is violent and unhealthy.
Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath
Ephesians 4:26 admonishes us to keep short accounts with those around us. Work through problems and don’t let them build up. You have already ruined one day with your problem. If you try to sleep on the problem you are at risk of ruining the next day because of poor sleep. Work through the problem and move on.
Don’t allow for a way out of your relationship
At the wedding you promised to stay with your mate and work through whatever problems you might encounter. Don’t go back on your promise. Even if you just threaten divorce, those words will never be forgotten. You and your spouse may patch up all the problems and have a wonderful marriage, but the scar of threatening divorce will be impossible to forget.
Don’t fail to exalt Christ
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. —Psalm 127:1
Keep Christ the center of your relationship and He will strengthen you through each other. If Christ is not currently being exalted through your marriage and family, then work to give Him the place He deserves. His promise is that He will strengthen and build your relationship.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: —Ephesians 4:26