Do you Communicate?

In this morning’s news was a sad occurrence of what seems to be miscommunication between spouses.  reeva_steenkamp_oscar_pistorius_AP315824437774_fullwidth_620x350Oscar Pistorius, well-known South African athlete who competed in the Olympics with prosthetic legs, killed his girlfriend at gunpoint after he supposedly interpreted a Tweet she sent perhaps wrongly.  Just after the shocking news I said to my wife, communication could have saved her life.

All over in the Bible we find directions to talk to our spouses, or it is expected to do so.

In a marriage the husband should know that your wife needs you to talk on the feeling level, listen with concern and interest, encourage and praise her positive character traits.  The Bible is clear in Ephesians 4:29, that our communication should be building up according to your spouse’s (or other people’s) needs, and benefit those who listen.

As spouses agree to communicate feelings honestly and lovingly.  The way to enjoy intimate communication is to be as concerned about your partner’s needs as about your own – Philippians 2:4.

There are many types of communication that make up the fabric of our relationships, and they play a special role in keeping our marriages from unraveling.  Here are five of them:

  • Small Talk – For many of us, small talk is hard work.… [But] if you have comforted yourself by saying small talk doesn’t matter, think again. It builds rapport and often leads to bigger things.
  • Serious Talk – There are times when we must broach difficult issues or have heart-to-heart talks about the things that we’re about.
  • Self Talk – that is, talking about our problems, our fears, our hopes, our ambitions, our feelings.
  • Soul Talk – talking about matters of the soul, talking about the Lord Jesus – Malachi 3:16.
  • Sweet Talk – this kind of talk is important for healthy marriages. Think of it as verbally snuggling.

As I have said, there are many ways of communicating (as I can think of many more, but these are just a start).  With at least these five kinds of communication with your spouse, it can help some of the communication going.

A good healthy relationship is often characterised by good communication. Healthy couples speak openly and directly with congruent non-verbal cues allowing them to convey the intended message accurately. Communication in relationships connects and reassures partners and allows them to discuss and solve problems and share important information and views.  Challenges occur when the messages we send to the other are misunderstood or misinterpreted. It is not uncommon when a couple experiences problems in their relationship, communication becomes broken.  Healthy, productive and effective communication is viewed as the binding tool for any relationship. Problems and challenges in intimate relationships are often resolved through developing healthy, productive and effective communication.

A few good books to read on the topic of communication in marriage are:

  • Chapman, Gary. Five Love Languages. Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 1996. Explains how people communicate love in different ways and the rewards in marriage of learning how to speak each other’s language.
  • Rainey, Dennis, and Barbara Rainey. Two Hearts Are Better Than One. Nashville: J. Countryman, 1999. Gives a husband and a wife the opportunity to write and discuss answers to joint questions on memories, values, and goals.
  • Rosberg, Gary. Dr. Rosberg’s Do-It-Yourself Relationship Mender. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999. Tools from Scripture on how to enjoy forgiveness, heal hurts, improve communication, and increase intimacy.