by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Communication is almost always listed in the grievances among dating and married couples who come to counseling.
As counselors try to help them through these struggles, three factors must be considered. When they are addressed and accounted for, the couple can begin to make progress.
First, communication must account for personality. Many people have a difficult time expressing their feelings. Instead, they may use other forms of speech.
A quiet husband may get up early, go to work, come home, cut the grass and take out the garbage. His wife gripes because he is not verbally expressing his love. However, he is speaking loudly through his actions and cannot understand her anger.
Someone is not going to become a completely different person in every aspect of life. At some point our personalities are set.
We can all learn to do better to accommodate our spouse. In the one-flesh marriage bond, our spouse is a part of our bodies and we care for them more than we do ourselves (Genesis 2:18-25).
Accordingly, it pains us when they are suffering. The effort made to express our feelings will be worth it in the end.
Second, communication must account for trust. We must feel safe as we open ourselves up completely to another person. This trust must be earned and it can be easily destroyed.
When someone has been hurt in the past, they will protect themselves at all costs. Their hesitation is understandable and they may have a difficult time trusting another person. The problem is that we cannot have a one-flesh bond without trust.
Third, communication must account for knowledge. When our loved one allows us into their hearts, we begin to learn more about them. The more we learn, the deeper our communication should become.
The selfish person cannot grow in this area because they do not see anything outside of themselves. We must allow our spouse true access, if they have proven themselves worthy.
True unselfish love will not allow us to hurt the other person without serious pain on our part (Ephesians 5:22-29). We know everything about our partner, yet we love them anyway. We protect and cherish them and never share their personal thoughts or fears with others.
The groundwork for communication is too often overlooked and couples suffer, as a result. Successful communication requires a large sacrifice as well as courage and patience.
When we have the type marriage God desires, we will be more than willing to do the work required because the joy will be exhilarating.