It’s summer so I have taken a few days before school starts and the teachers that live at my house have to grab their teacher tools and open the door to readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmatic to their little disciples, to visit my far away family. That was one long sentence.
Between my occasional vocal outburst of “Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin’ Man” and Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again,” I have been thinking about marriage. Larke and I have reminisced about our more than twenty-six years of marriage. I have thought about some of the things I have learned. Some lessons I have learned the hard way, others I have learned from observation. Since I have committed myself to writing at least five blog posts a week for this year, I decided to share my thoughts. I welcome your input. I still have a good deal of time to be in the car so I could use some outside thoughts to consider. If you see that I stole some of your material, contact me in private and I will apologize but first read my article on How To Respond To An Apology. So here we go:
Is it possible any more for two people to love each other so much that they would spend their entire lives together? Is it possible that two could be so bound together, so bonded together in a marriage that nothing can separate them except death? Is that possible? We’re going to look at that for the next several weeks.
If you are single and you are still reading this, let me encourage you to keep reading. Keep reading because:
- You know some married people who need this material and you could counsel them.
- You might get married someday in the future.
- Even if you don’t, you still need to learn as an adult the relational skills that are applied to every relationship not just marriage. What I’m going to write about has application not just to marriage but to every single relationship in your life.
I want to ask you to consider six keys that will unlock the doors to marriage heaven.
God’s ideal for your marriage is harmony, unity and intimacy. But that’s the ideal and most of us don’t stay there. We go from the ideal and pretty soon marriage is an ordeal and eventually we’re looking for a new deal and let’s make a deal. But that’s not God’s goal. God’s goal is you have these six keys that unlock the potential of your marriage for it to become all God wants it to be.
The first key we’re going to look at that will open a door to marriage heaven is…
Key #1: Communication
That’s a given. All of us know that communication is important to every relationship but we also know it’s a big problem. Proverbs 13:17 says, “Reliable communication permits progress.” If you want to make progress in your relationship you have to learn how to talk with each other.
We know from studies that have been done 85% of all marriage problems include some kind of communication breakdown. You know in your relationship and I know it in mine.
That reminds me of the guy wearing the T-shirt that said, “If a man speaks in the forest and his wife isn’t there to hear him is he still wrong?” Communication is hard. It’s exacerbated by the fact that in our culture the average person watches 46 hours a week of television but the average couple spends 4 minutes a day in conversation. It’s a problem.
One of the things we have to work on if we’re going to have a successful marriage is this whole issue of communication. We have to learn to put into practice good communication skills. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but only that which is good and edifying that it may minister grace to the hearers.” That’s a command to all Christians but it certainly applies to our marriages as well. We have to learn the skill of good communication.
Let me give you one word of warning. Speak honestly and communicate the best you know how. Because one of the things that causes problems in our relationships is when we begin to speak in riddles or send hidden messages. Occasionally someone, a woman will perhaps say to her husband, “I shouldn’t have to tell you. You should know this by now.” Ladies, can I just tell you? We cannot read your mind. You say, “Well, you guys can’t be that dumb!” Let me assure you we are. We don’t get it. Spell it out for us. Speak slow. Write it down. We just don’t get it quickly.
Matthew 5:37 “Just say yes and no. When you manipulate words to get your own way you go wrong.”
If the first key of unlocking the marriage matrix is communion the second key is… I’m going to have to pick up here tomorrow after golf with my dad and my son, Chris.