“Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:8
Traditionally, June is the month for weddings. But after the wedding, the reality begins: marriage. One of the most important elements to a healthy marriage is good communication. This month, we’ll focus on learning to talk to one another in marriage, and pray for our marriages, whether we’re just beginning our lives together, or if we’ve been married for decades.
In a marriage, both partners have a need for a sense of security—the guarantee of acceptance, of love…especially from one another. We need to know we have worth as individuals—that our lives as a man and as a woman count for something, that there is a purpose for our existence, for our marriage.
And how do we affirm this to one another? By talking. By listening. By caring enough to communicate. We communicate in so many different ways. Sometimes with a look and other times with a touch. Yet in our marriage, there needs to be words. We need to hear each other’s voice, what the other is thinking, feeling, dealing with, dreaming of.
The way we communicate with one another can make a difference in whether our marriage is strong or weak, one of joy or of pain, one of health and wholeness or destruction. It is all in the art of communication, and it literally permeates every aspect of marriage.
One of us loves to talk. The other is quieter. However, because healthy communication is critical to our relationship, we need to do whatever it takes to learn to communicate in an effective way. Nothing else shows more clearly that we truly care for and value our loved one above ourselves.
How we need to learn to listen to one another: to permit and encourage honesty, openness, vulnerability. To exchange thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, fears, and failures with one another in such a way that we free each other to share without fear, rejection, or judgment. When we talk in this way, it bonds us at a new and deeper level, and it gives us the courage to work out the issues we face as husband and wife in order to meet the future together with confidence. This is the life-support system of the strong and unshakable marriage we desire.
Father, we know that all creation came into existence because You spoke. Your book, the Bible, is Your Word. We exist because You communicated. We know what to believe and how to live because of Your words recorded and preserved in the Scriptures. We know that You spoke long ago “to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways” and that “in these last days” You have “spoken to us in Your Son.”
You are the master communicator. Thus we come to You, to be instructed and taught by You, our Father God, in the art of communicating effectively with the one You have given us. You made us. You know our communication styles. You also know that when we speak to each other, what we say, what we hear, and how we respond are all filtered through our past experiences, our personalities, the background canvas of our lives. Therefore, we don’t always hear correctly what is being said. In the light of this, help us to learn to talk, to question, to understand, and to believe what our loved one is saying to us rather than presuming things that are not true simply because we read our partner wrong or we project on them what is not reality.
Help us to be patient with one another, to talk things out rather than getting angry and stubbornly, defensively closing up. Let us see that understanding one another is vital to a marriage without regrets. Otherwise we can be deceived by a lie, misdirected by a perception, or disillusioned by a misconception. Soften our hearts, fill them with compassion, and cause us to be more concerned for our loved one than we are for ourselves. Let us understand we are in the process of building a relationship that will carry us safely through any storm or crisis of life, bringing us closer and closer to each other—
Of one mind, one heart, and one spirit.
Beloved, one of the things I want to touch on is this. There may be people out there who just think, “You know, if I have to, I’ll endure this marriage.” We don’t want you to endure your marriage; we want you to enjoy your marriage! God wants your marriage to be sacred, joyful and exciting. Discover how to establish and maintain the kind of marriage God intends for you to have with our 40-Minute Study titled “Building a Marriage that Really Works.” For those already familiar with Precept studies, we also have a Precept upon Precept course titled “Marriage Without Regrets.” Visit us online to order either of these resources. We want to help change your marriage from “I’ve got to survive,” to “I’m enjoying this marriage,” as you learn God’s precepts for life.
Host, Precepts for Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International
(Excerpted from Prayers to Bless Your Marriage. Copyright © 2003 by Kay Arthur.
Used by permission of Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. All rights reserved.)