Communication in Marriage: Part 1
 WORDS MATTER — A Couple’s Bible Study

“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” — Matthew 12:37

Having completed our study last month on oneness, this month in our Couple’s Bible Study posts, we’ll look at communication in marriage.

But first, a note to the husbands…. I bet some of you are thinking—Communication? What about sex? That’s oneness isn’t it? Yes, it certainly is. And it is a key component in God’s design of marriage to bring about oneness. I promise, guys, we’ll get to that. But stay with me. Better communication will lead to better sex. So, please be patient for now and not get the wagon in front of the horse. The truth is we will never have oneness in our marriages without good communication.

Now, on to today’s message… Would you say you and your spouse communicate well? Are your words always full of love and gentleness? Or have there been a few harsh words thrown in from time to time—maybe a lot of the time? It’s just the plight of being human—that sinful, selfish nature of ours. Sometimes we say things that aren’t very nice or are insensitive or get us in trouble. So we need to understand what good communication means and how we achieve it from a biblical perspective.

Our Words Are Powerful

God’s Word tells us our words are very powerful and are important to good communication in any relationship. And as the closest human relationship, what we say to our spouses has a huge impact on our marriages.

You may have seen statistics stating verbal communication is only a small percentage of the messages we send to others. Some studies indicate the actual words we say make up only about 10 percent of our communication, while the tone we use and non-verbal communication makes up the other 90 percent. The argument then is that the actual words said are not nearly as important as the tone of voice used or the actions that accompany them.

Men, the next time you’re dress shopping with your wife, and she asks you how it looks, try this experiment… When she comes out in a new dress and asks, “Well, what do you think?”—smile, give her a hug, and cheerfully say, “Why, it makes you look fat, Honey.” (Please, men, don’t really try it. I don’t want to get you in trouble. Our goal on this website is to strengthen marriages, not destroy them.)

Of course, this is a ridiculous example. But hopefully you get my point.

Our words DO matter—way more than 10 percent worth. Tone and non-verbal communication are also important. But what we say is so very powerful that the Bible addresses communication almost exclusively in terms of words. Communication is first and foremost about words. How do we know? Because God’s Word tells us over and over the importance of what we say.

Our Words Show Our Hearts

Look at this passage from Luke 6:43-45–“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Our words reveal what’s in our hearts—what we think and feel. When our hearts are right with God, good words will come forth. When we are not right with God, rotten words will come out—words that are ugly, hurtful, unloving. And we will never be pleasing to God when we harbor bad thoughts or feelings about our spouses. Good communication starts in our hearts. So we must be right with God to communicate well with our spouses, and we must be right with our spouses to have good, open communication with God. We can’t have one without the other.

Our Words Have an Impact

Our spoken words are important enough to God that He will hold us accountable for how we speak to our spouses. Matthew 12:34-37 says– “…out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

And God also instructs us men about how we treat our wives in 1 Peter 3:7–“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

That’s quite a consequence—our prayers being hindered if we don’t treat our wives well. I guarantee you that being considerate of our wives includes how we talk to them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything coming between me and communicating with the Lord.

God tells us our words, as much as anything else, impact our relationships with others. And this is certainly true in the relationship between husband and wife.

Words Expressions

Proverbs 15:1 says–“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” And Proverbs 15:4 tells us–“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” We cannot have a close relationship with our spouse when our words are harsh or deceitful.

We Can Control Our Words

With God’s help and by following His teaching, we can have victory over our tongues and use our words in ways that express love and blessing and produce good communication in our marriages.

But we have to work on it. It won’t just happen. And so, next week, we will talk about how we can control our words and be sure what we say helps us grow closer to our spouses and does them no harm.

Take Action

For now, be aware of your words this week. Pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings as you speak. Strive to speak words of love and kindness. And, of course, pray for the Lord’s help and guidance.

Remember, good communication starts in our hearts. So let’s go before God and ask Him to make our hearts pure.

Sabra and I will be praying for you as we pray for ourselves in this. Please let us know (Contact Us) if you have any specific prayer requests. It would be our privilege to pray for your needs.

May the Lord bless you in all His wonderful ways.
David

 

This is a great song by Hawk Nelson—Words. It speaks to the heart of our message today.
(Please forgive us for any inappropriate ad that pops up and skip on through to the song.)

“Words” by Hawk Nelson

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Telephone line photo by markito via pixabay, text and filter added.
For other posts in this series, Communication in Marriage, here are the links…
Part 2–A Key Passage
Part 3–Prepare and Practice
Part 4–6 Essential Steps to Communicate God’s Way
Part 5–4 Ways of Relating to Each Other

About David Penley

A devoted husband and father, former pastor and seminary professor, who longs to grow closer to the likeness of Christ each day and share God's love and truth with everyone.