Summary: James 1:19 gives us the perfect guidelines for good communication in marriage.
A. Today, I want us to talk about communication.
1. Communication is always a challenge in every relationship, but in marriage it is the thing that either makes it or breaks it.
2. There are so many things that can get in the way of good communication.
a. We can use a word differently than the way the other person understands that word.
b. Our sentence structure or word order may lead to misunderstanding.
1. Like the blacksmith who was training his apprentice.
a. He said, “Don’t ask me a lot of questions, just do whatever I tell you to do.”
b. The blacksmith took a piece of steal out of the fire, laid it on the anvil and said, “Get the hammer over there. When I nod my head, hit it real good and hard.”
c. Our assumptions may never be communicated in the words we use, but we assume we have communicated all that we are thinking.
1. Like the sergeant who shouted, “What’s your name private?” “William Jennings,” the soldier replied.
a. “When you talk to me, you say, ‘sir’,” roared the sergeant.
b. “Now let’s try again: What’s your name, private?” “Sir William Jennings.”
d. The person we are talking with may hear the words we use, but think they hear us saying something completely different.
1. Like the lawyer who was talking with a woman wanting a divorce from her husband.
a. He said, “Do you have grounds?” She said, “Yes, we have 1 ½ acres.
b. He said, “Do you have a grudge? She said, “No, we have a carport.”
c. He asked, “Does he beat you up?” She said, “No, I wake up first in the morning.”
d. The lawyer asked, “Then why do you want a divorce?” The woman replied, “Because my husband cannot carry on an intelligent conversation.”
e. Add to all of that, the messages of body language, and tone of voice, and all kinds of other things that also are a part of communication, and you have a situation ripe for miscommunication.
B. If communication is really that difficult, should we just give up and accept poor communication? Of course not, good communication skills can be learned and communication can be improved.
1. God is the One who not only created people, but he created the potential for good communication. He invented language and gave us tongues to speak and ears to hear.
2. If we follow God’s instructions, and employ His power, then we can experience successful communication with others, especially our mates.
3. Let’s spend the rest of our time, this morning, exploring how to develop good communication in marriage.
4. I want us to use James 1:19 as our primary verse and the outline for our lesson. James says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
a. Does this passage apply to you? Are you among the everyone?
I. The First Guideline for Good Communication is: Become a Good Listener
A. James 1:19 starts with listening – “Everyone should be quick to listen.”
1. The rabbis of old used to say, “We have two ears given to us and one tongue. Our ears are open and exposed, our tongue is walled behind our teeth. Therefore, we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.”
2. If we are honest, most of us are not very good at listening.
a. We would rather be the one talking, than the one listening.
b. And when we are not talking and should be carefully listening, all we are doing is thinking about what we are going to say, when the other person finally finishes talking.
3. A great deal of misunderstanding results when we do not listen carefully to each other.
a. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening, that is his folly and his shame.”
4. Why don’t we listen as we should? There could be many reasons.
a. It could be our ego. We might be defensive and don’t want to hear what they have to say.
b. Or, we may make the assumption that we already know what they are going to say.
c. So, we think we have heard it all before and we jump ahead and finish their sentences.
B. How can we be better listeners?
1. First of all, we need to have CONCENTRATION.
a. Put aside all distractions. Turn off the TV. Close the laptop. Put aside the cellphone.
b. Listen with your ears and your eyes. Look at the person who is speaking. Look into their eyes…look for anger, joy, confusion, excitement, or tears. Watch their body language. Watch their facial expressions.
c. Lean forward, nod your head, let your face say, “tell me more.”
d. Learn to listen with concentration. Got it? Everyone say, “Concentration.”