Posted by: Derek Guyer | October 30, 2008

Talk With Your Spouse Tip #13

It’s amazing how quickly a conversation can turn ugly in a marriage. People often become offended so quickly at some of the strangest things. A lot of that has to do with our very first communication tip. We walk into conversations with certain biases and beliefs because of who we are and where we’ve been, and the other person does the same. Unfortunately, that translates into some awkward dialogue at times.

Paul, in I Thessalonians chapter 5, told the church there to “make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” What a tough command. For most of us, this idea goes against our nature. We want so badly to lash out in defense when we feel like we’ve been wronged. It’s so hard to let go. It’s no wonder Paul went on to encourage the church at Thessalonica to do more than just avoid paying back a wrong. He gives a better understanding of how:

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 5:15-18

Don’t just be kind. Paul says to be joyful, praying all the time and give thanks. When was the last time you found yourself doing those things?

I’ve found one of my greatest keys to talking openly and honestly with my wife, despite our differences and how I may have been wronged, is to pray as we’re talking. I find myself continually asking God to show me what to say and how to say it. This constant desire for God’s words, instead of my own, gives me the ability to say what’s necessary and avoid what is not. In turn, I find myself giving thanks and more full of joy than ever.

Paul made it clear, in I Corinthians 1, that he didn’t come to the church at Corinth with persuasive words of “human wisdom”. He came with the Spirit. If Paul, a very devout man of God, chose not to use his own persuasive  words, then how can we expect to do any different? Paul understood the absolute necessity of the Spirit speaking through him. 

What if you, in the middle of your next discussion with your spouse, decided to pray through it? What if you asked for wisdom? What if you asked for words that would help the conversation and not hinder it? What if you asked for wisdom to know when to speak and when not to speak? How would the conversation change?

I’ve seen how this can help. I’ve watched it change the communication in our marriage. I’ve learned to pray for Lisa and for myself. As well, I’ve learned to ask for God to speak through me, because I’m prone to say some stupid things. I’ve learned to shut my mouth until I know it’s time for me to speak. These simple changes have drastically changed every conversation in my marriage, and they can do the same thing for yours. 

Talk with your spouse tip: Stop talking long enough to pray. Ask for guidance, wisdom, and words. Then find the joy, peace, and thankfulness that comes from a Christ-centered marriage and Christ-centered communication.

Father, remind us of our foolishness, brokenness, and absolute need for you. If only we spoke with your words, Father, our homes could begin to see the light of men. Use us as your instruments as you speak through us. Change how we speak so our spouses, our children, and the world can see you in us.

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