We wanted to make one more post in our current series on the importance of communication. Thus far, the one thread that has been significant in our understanding of marriage comes from Genesis 3:24. It is here that God’s purpose for the marriage relationship is made clear. A husband and wife are no longer 2 separate individuals, they are one flesh. Because of this, all conversation matters. Non-verbal dialog within the marriage will have an impact on the marriage, for better or worse. Verbal dialog will have an impact on the marriage. To those who are married, everything you do impacts the marriage relationship. Therefore, outside of personal relationship with God, the marriage relationship must come first.
Some may ask, “What about other friends outside of the marriage relationship?” Well, we believe other friends are wonderful! Especially when they have a hobby or interest that your spouse may not have. But your husband, or your wife, that’s your best friend. That’s the one who’s with you. That’s the one who’s going to go through everything you go through. And you can take significant delight in knowing that no matter what happens, you’re not going to go through it alone. You’ve got a partner.
But while non-verbal and verbal communication are a huge component of the “one flesh” purpose for marriage, third party communication is extremely important as well. Third party communication is how we speak about our spouse to other people. It may not come naturally, but we believe it’s essential to talk about each other in very positive ways. The reason it doesn’t come naturally is because within our culture, there are a number of temptations, for both men and women, to speak poorly of our spouse around our co-workers and other friends. Here’s an example:
My (Justin) original degree was in elementary education and I worked in a child care resource center for 6 years with…you guessed it… all women. During this time I heard women in the office talk about their husbands pretty regularly…but not in a good way. I’ve heard women talk about how their husband doesn’t provide as well as they’d like them to for the family, and even heard discussions about how their husbands are no longer sexually satisfying them. I’ve heard them say things like, “I really wish I had married up instead of marrying down.” And men, I’ve oftentimes heard husbands talk about how “tied down” they are at home or other negative thoughts toward their spouse. This is important: what and how we communicate TO our spouse is extremely important, but what and how we communicate to others ABOUT our spouse is important as well.
If you’re looking for others to look up to you and your marriage – speak well about your husband in all occasions. If you’re looking for others to think well of you AND your wife – speak well of her and only say positive things about her to others. And if you’re looking for others to speak well about your marriage to others they know – speak well of your spouse. Speaking well about your spouse with others shows the overall commitment you have to one another, it shows that the “one flesh” mentality lives and breathes outside your home as well as inside your home, and we fully believe that doing this will ultimately lead to better communication within your home as well. And don’t forget, a third party conversation has a way of traveling and getting back to your spouse. Use that for the best.
Which of these forms of communication (non-verbal, verbal, third party) do you struggle with the most? What changes do you hope to implement in the weeks ahead to make communication within your marriage a higher priority?
What other questions do you have about the “one flesh” purpose for marriage? Feel free to let us know below.