Summary: Marriage is more than moonlight and roses. In our day, it is by many lightly regarded, and by many as lightly discarded. But marriages are kept alive by God's grace.
Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). And, the only people who go away unsatisfied from that living water are those who are filled with the stagnate water of self-love. But, if you’ll seek the Lord Jesus, today, if you don’t know Him, listen to me, if you’ll seek Him today, you can find Him.
Take God’s Word and open, please, to the book of James chapter 1, and in just a moment we’re going to read a formula that will change your marriage from a “Duel” to a “Duet.” One verse, just one verse out of the Word of God, properly understood, I guarantee you, will transform a marriage.
Now, we’re talking about a duel. Is it common to debate with your mate? Well, it is. Almost all folks who are married sometimes get into it. Now, look up here all you holy-looking people and just nod your head this way. Sometimes we get into it. Now, sometimes some folks stay in it. I mean, you’d think they were married by the secretary of war rather than the justice of peace. I mean, they just stay in it.
Well, the most important thing, believe it or not, is not whether or not you have confrontations. The most important thing is this, how do you handle those confrontations? Look in James 1 verse 19: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Better words, truer words, or more helpful words could not be said in a shorter sentence. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. Now, what he is really saying is this, “Tune in, tone down, sweeten up.” That’s what it says. “Tune in,” be swift to hear. “Tone down,” be slow to speak. “Sweeten up,” be slow to wrath.
Now, I want us to think about these things in some detail. First of all, he tells us that we are to tune in. And, He’s talking there about the awesome power of the listening ear. You know the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 18 and verse 13: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” To speak before you listen.
All good marriage communication, or communication anywhere else, begins with listening. Did you know that psychologists tell us that we really only catch about twenty percent of what we hear? Really only about twenty percent. Being a preacher, I think perhaps it’s less than that.
And, then you know, so many times what we hear is not clear anyway, and it’s garbled. I picked up this sentence the other day, “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Have you ever listened to a person talks that way? I mean, when they’re finished you really don’t even know what they have said and you have to listen so carefully.
Now, for the sake of time, I’m gonna buzz right past that and just say “tune in,” learn to love your mate. Are you listening with your ears and with your eyes? Because there’s verbal communication, there’s visual communication. “Tune in,” listen. One man said, “My wife goes around the house all day long just talking with herself.” His friend said, “Does she know she’s doing it?”
He said, “No, she thinks I’m listening to her.” Now, now listen. “Tune in,” begin to listen. Love with your ears and love with your eyes.
Secondly, tune in, tone down. Learn something of the awesome power of the tongue. Look, if you will, in James chapter 3 verses 5 through 8. James says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
Now, Mr. Torched Tongue, may I tell you that you can burn down your marriage with your tongue! But, now continue. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame.”
Tiger-tongue, listen to me. You shred and claw with your mouth, we used to say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” That is absolutely absurd and silly. Your tongue can be like a vicious beast. And, then let’s continue to read, he goes on to say in this same chapter, speaking of the tongue, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”