Summary: Learn four ways to communicate better in your home in this word-by-word study of Ephesians 4:15.
"The C Word: It’s the Road to Success"
In Operation Desert Storm, our military had one objective on the first night of operations: attack all communications installations and destroy them! Here’s why – if you can dismantle and disable someone’s communication network, you can defeat them.
The same is true in our relationships, especially regarding marriage and home – destroy the communication and you can defeat the family.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I believe, once you have established grace – Jesus – as the main ingredient that makes your home different, communication is the very first tool that ought to be developed. It is the #1 habit that people in the home need to get right as soon as possible. It matters that much!
James Dobson confirms this. He said recently on his radio show that he believes communication is the #1 reason marriages begin to have problems.
Don’t let this shock you. Communication has long been the #1 pitfall for men and women. And it’s not just that at times we’re indifferent; it is also that we’re different, right? We were made different from the start!
It’s what I humorously call “speaking male” and “speaking female.” For instance, I may say to my wife, “I’m going to the mall.” She hears, “Let’s take a day and shop.” When she asks me, “What did you have to eat today?” and I respond, “Not a bite!”, what I really mean is “Only a small burger and some measly fries.” But what she heard is, “Nothing.” (which is really what I verbalized.)
Yes, we just hear and speak differently because of how we are made. Add to that a hard heart or sinful attitude, and BAM – you’ve got serious problems on your hands when it comes to communicating and staying in touch!
Believe it or not, Julie and I communicated in unhealthy ways for many years, until finally we grew tired of parables, hidden meanings and reading between the lines. We just got plain sick of speaking in foreign languages. And what followed was no doubt the one thing that changed our marriage the most. Did you get that – I’m about to share with you what has most turned our marital relationship around.
Our change started with a clear understanding of one, single verse: Eph 4:15 says “…speak the truth in love…”
As we read and pondered this, we saw three main components to this command: “Speak,” “truth,” and “love.”
“Speak” – communicate, talk, say words
“Truth” – right words, non-deceit, correct, no hidden meanings or double talk
“Love” – commitment to what is best, no anger/rashness, but evenness and stability
We prayed, studied and learned that we were communicating in ways totally opposite of these words. This concept was, by and large, foreign to our relationship. For example:
“Where do you want to eat?” I would ask. She’d respond, “Anywhere”, even though she really didn’t mean it (untruth). So then I would pick a place, and she would say, “Not there.” At that point I would retort sarcastically, “But you said ‘anywhere’.” And on and on this would go. We found it hard even agreeing on a place to eat. Sad, I know!
This continued into things like, “Mind if I go shopping?” or “Mind if I go golfing?” It even began affecting major decisions, such as “Where do you want to go for vacation?”
Eventually, every conversation seemed to be a chore! Want to know why? We were eroding our foundation through deceit, sarcasm and hidden meanings. The three things in that simple verse – talk, truth, and love – were absent from our communication. The result? Our relationship began to die.
Let me show you what I mean. Watch this – no truth leads to no trust which leads to no relationship. And yes, it always starts small, and often in humor; but little lies lead to large cracks in the foundation.
I’m going to spend this whole message on this phrase, sharing with you how it has changed our marriage!
What we did is actually very simple: we made a promise to speak and hear complete truth in every word! IOW, we promised each other that every word would be taken at face-value as the literal truth! We just started obeying the Bible every time…to every question, in every conversation, for every word, we made a commitment to speaking the truth in a loving way. We simply started speaking and listening to things at FACE VALUE…
• …When someone asked a question, we answered it based on what they asked. We stopped reading into things. We took the question as a truthful question, so we answered truthfully based on what we were asked.
• …When someone gave an answer, we accepted it as their truthful answer and acted accordingly. If it wasn’t the truth, well, too bad…next time they told it!