“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
This quote basically sums up the root cause of divorce. We say something to our spouse and we are under the illusion that they have heard and understood what we have said, when in actual fact, they have misinterpreted what was said or were distracted at the time and did not hear properly or what was said triggered an emotional response relating to something in their past and instead of concentrating on the words, they are thinking of past hurts or thinking of a response before hearing the full sentence.
I am convinced that the writer of Proverbs 18:13 had married couples in mind when he penned these words: “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame”.
We have to learn to listen to the emotion behind the words, to observe facial expressions and to actively concentrate on the words being spoken. James 1:19 puts it succinctly: “My dear brothers and sisters (spouses) take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
We also need to listen in context to the history of the relationship.
When we learn to communicate effectively it leads to a deeper intimacy and understanding of each other and this deepens and adds immense value to the relationship.
Communication between spouses stands for so much.
C – commitment. We need to be dedicated to each other. Marriage between two Believers should only end when one spouse dies. Divorce is not an option.
O – openness. We need to allow our spouse access into our thoughts. There has to be total honesty between you.
M – magnify. We need to praise our spouse. Boost their egos and adore them.
M – mutual. We need to share feelings and emotions.
U – understanding. We need to be perceptive, appreciative and aware of our spouse at all times.
N – naked. We need to expose our deepest feelings and emotions to our spouse. We also need to make time to be physically naked and enjoy sexual intimacy with our partner.
I – interested. We need to be responsive, intent and excited towards our spouse.
C – caring. We need to be compassionate, kind and considerate at all times.
A – attitude. We need to work at being positive at all times. We definitely need God’s help on this one!
T – transparent. We need to be straight forward, candid and direct and hide nothing.
I – if. If in a marriage is usually followed by only – ‘if only’. If needs to be banned from our vocabulary.
O – ours. We need to claim the marriage relationship as ‘ours’.
N – negotiate. We need to discuss, debate and consult each other.
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Originally written for Start Marriage Right and published on