find James chapter 1. When you have found it, look up here. Joyce asked me on the way to church tonight, “Adrian, what is your subject matter?” And I said, “I am going to be speaking tonight on communication between husbands and wives.” (Laughter) She said, “Well all right, but remember I will be sitting out there listening (Laughter) to every word.” I think perhaps the number one problem in most of our homes is in communication. As a matter of fact, one marriage counselor said eighty percent; eighty percent of those who come in for counseling about marriage have a problem that roots in poor communication.
Well, James is talking about communication here in James chapter 1 verses 19 and 20. Let’s look at it. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” There is awesome power in communication, the power of the tongue. As a matter of fact, if we don’t in our marriages learn to communicate, most likely our marriage will disintegrate.
Let me give you a few ancillary verses even before we even get to our main text. Proverbs chapter 18, verse 21, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Now folks that is powerful. “Life and death are in the power of the tongue: and they that love life shall eat the fruit thereof.” That is, if you want a happy life, you are going to have the fruit of a good conversation to nourish that life.
And then again, to husbands and wives over in 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 10, “For he that will love life, and see good days.” Now who doesn’t want to see good days? For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”
Now sometimes it is hard for husbands and wives to communicate because men and women are different. They were sitting on the front porch on the swing. It was a wonderful night. They were in love and, there across the valley, through the vale, was the little country church with the yellow light streaming out through the window. And the choir was practicing and the strains of the choir practice were echoing through the valley. And she was beautiful; he was handsome. They were very much in love. Beneath the porch were the crickets chirping. He, thinking about fishing, was listening to the crickets. She, romantically, was listening to the music. And she said to him, “Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you have ever heard?” He said, “It is.” Said, “They tell me they make that noise by rubbing their hind legs together.” (Laughter) That is the difference between a man and woman. And sometimes we are not on the same page at all. (Laughter)
How do we communicate? Well, number one, there is the frivolous level. That’s where we talk about the weather, we are talking about sports, we are talking about clothes, maybe just nonsense. Somebody said people are frequently overheard saying nothing.
And then there is the factual level. We move it up a little bit different and we talk about facts without our personal involvement. And we talk about facts very much like people talk about the evening news. And that is the way we may talk to a person on a bus or standing on a corner somewhere.
And then there is the fellowship level. Where we go a little deeper, and we go beyond facts, and we begin to talk about ideas, and judgments, and philosophies, and so forth. Now, when we get to this level, (pages turning) we know that we are risking because we are putting our ideas out. The thing has become personal and we know we may be contradicted or we may be judged by what we say.
And then there is a deeper level. We go to the feeling level. We talk about how we feel about these facts, and these ideas, and philosophies, and judgments. And we kind of open up our heart and let somebody look into our heart.
And then there is the freedom level. That is the deepest level where we tell the other person everything. We don’t hold back anything; our hurts, our wounds, our dreads, our fears, our ideas, completely, openly. That is the word, intimate. It comes from the Latin word “intamus,” (sp.?) which means inward. Very few people ever get to that level, even husbands and wives.
And so I want to talk about conversation, and how to handle arguments, and how to achieve intimacy in marriage. And I think we can find it right here in what James said. Let’s look at the verse again. Verse 19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”