Photo from: stevemehta.com
Marriage is a place in which we learn just how difficult the basics of communication really are.
I’ve learned in my marriage that what means one thing to him doesn’t mean the same to me. His use of words is often full of hyperbole and expression, I’m often literal. He says what he thinks, I think about all the different things I say. It’s hard to figure out at times which thing that was said was a decision, and which was just talking. Our lines get crossed.
This isn’t just my marriage.
There are stories of marriages that fall apart because a wife works day and night to make the home perfect and spotless, and, never receiving thanks or compliments, wears herself thin trying to improve it further. Meanwhile, her husband is pleased, but he never expresses it. His displeasure grows, however, as she seems less and less interested in him and more obsessed with the home. They end up in counseling because she feels overworked and underappreciated, and he feels like she doesn’t care about him.
The resulting phrases are familiar to us:
- “How can you possibly say that? Or think that?”
- “Haven’t you paid any attention?”
- “Why didn’t you say so?!”
- “What do you think I’m doing all this for??”
- “If you had just…”
- “That’s not enough. Don’t you know how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?”
When words like these start flying, it’s time to bring in a third party. Or rather, the first party: the Lord.
Ever considered that just like God made you (and the whole world, including your spouse,) He also made language? He made communication in every form. Nonverbal, demonstrative, literal, actual words, in written form. All by His design.
He also designed marriage, with all of its cracks, potholes, and gaping gulfs of “we just aren’t able to connect.” Let Him span all of that. Let Him unite the two of you in such a way that at long last, those impossible communication gaps are bridged.
All others things that we unite in in marriage won’t last. Causes, personality traits, commitments, passions, and hopes will change over time. The Lord will not. All of those little things that get lost between two people as they try to work together are known to the Lord.
Unite in Him.
I’ll say it again, in this rambling, poorly communicated post: unite in Him.
If your words to each other aren’t working: pray. Together. You’ll find that there is more grace, more possibility, and more opportunity to be one when the One who matters gets to speak first.