Can You Hear Me Now?

Bible Book: Proverbs  15 : 4
Subject: Communication; Marriage

Learning to communicate effectively is vital to a healthy relationship. A couple stood before a minister to be married. The groom was very nervous. The pastor asked the woman, "Do you promise to love, honor, and obey this man?"

At this the bride rebelled. She asked, "Do you think I am crazy?"

The groom, thinking it was his time to respond said, "I do."

Healthy communication is a cure to many marital problems people face today.

Look at Proverbs 15:4.

Note the word wholesome. This is a medical term. It means to bring healing or health. To not communicate effectively is the equivalent to withholding needed medicine.

Then, note the word perverseness. This means distorted, vicious and negative. Positive communication is healthy, but negative communication is deadly. Negative communication breaks, or creates a breach. It bruises, hurts, wounds or destroys. Many people are wounded because of the negativity of others. It is important to work hard on the skills that make for a strong marriage.

You have heard talk is cheap. That may be true in some cases, but it is not true in marriage. It takes hard work to develop healthy communication but it is worth it. I hope the following will help you to develop your communication skills with the people who are most important to you, beginning with your spouse.

I. Honestly Evaluate Your Strengths And Weaknesses

This means that we must examine ourselves. The bible tells you to submit to self examination and examination from the lord. Note 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith..."

The Psalmist said, "Search me, o God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

(Look at Gary Smalley's evaluation instrument for couples)

II. Learn Your Marriage Partner

God made everyone different. Although you know that and even applaud it, it can cause severe problems in marriage. There are the basic emotional differences in men and women. Then there are the personality differences in people. Think of these differences

A. The Lion.

The "lion" personality is decisive, purposeful and great at conquering challenges. This person is a natural leader. He or she will head in a direction and expect others to follow and resist any hint of control by others. Lions like immediate results. Lions have a difficult time relaxing. Lions want a cliff notes type communication.

B. The Beaver.

Beavers keep a close watch on their emotions. They have a difficult time communicating warmth. Saying "I love you" is tough, and "I am sorry" nearly impossible. Beavers read the instructions; lions do not. Beavers like to make careful decisions and are very analytical. They love to go into detail and turn anger inward. They slow down under pressure.

C. The Otter.

Otters just want to have fun. They are great at motivating others to action and tend to avoid the fine print. They also like to focus on the future. Otters avoid confrontation at all cost but never meet a stranger. They are very susceptible to peer pressure.

D. The Golden Retriever.

This personality is very loyal above all else. They have a strong need for close relationships and a deep need to please others. The golden retriever type person has a heart full of compassion. They are also very adaptable. But, they get their feelings hurt very easily. This type person is adaptable but reacts against sudden change while holding stubbornly to what they feel is right.

III. Make The First Five Minutes Together Positive.

Counselors tell us the first 4 minutes we spend together sets the tone for the rest of the encounter. This really takes work, especially if it has been a tough day.

IV. Be Aware Of The Importance Of Non-Verbal Communication.

This involves both positive and negative. Almost every married couple knows the look you can give your spouse if you really want to drive them up the wall, and I do not mean romantically either.

Every message has three parts. 7% is content. 38% is tone of voice. 55% is the non-verbal message. The most effective body language is touch. One study estimates that if some type a driven men would hug their wives several times a day, they would increase their lifespan by almost 2 years.