“Communication is to love what blood is to the body. When communication stops, love begins to die,’ wrote Dr. Paul Faulkner in his book “What Every Family Needs.”
Several years ago Redbook magazine surveyed 830 marriage counselors to determine the main problems married couples faced. Not surprisingly, communication was number one. My experience supports their conclusion. Often couples feel they have a problem with money, intimacy, or in-laws, but really it’s communication. Jay E. Adams was right when he wrote, “A sound husband and wife relationship is impossible apart from good communication. A healthy relationship between parents and children depends on such communication.
Communication in marriage has been on my mind a lot lately. Norma Jean and I are currently leading a Dynamic Marriage class where I preach at Hickman Mills. The text-book is His Needs Her Needs by Dr. Willard Harley. In it he lists ten basic emotional needs that all men and women desire in a relationship. One is intimate conversation. This week we are studying openness and honesty. Yet all ten of the needs are based on the ability to effectively communicate.
Yesterday I shared some suggestions that will enhance and improve our communication. Today, I want to follow-up that post by considering some things that hinder effective communication. There are many things that will not only hamper your ability to communicate, but can destroy the love in your home. They are communication killers! Consider these three.
. Prior to Paul’s treatise on the husband-wife and parent-child relationship in Ephesians 5 and 6, he speaks of putting off the old man and putting on the new man. He instructs that “in your anger do not sin” (4:26). Then he lists some specific sins to eliminate from our lives–“bitterness, anger, wrath, and slander” (4:32). It is no accident that these warnings are given before the admonitions to those in the family.
Uncontrolled anger has destroyed many homes. Some parents communicate displeasure in their children’s actions with an angry attitude. Vindictively lashing out at our kids will not produce godly actions. Vicious verbal attacks against a spouse will inflict an emotional wound that requires much time and effort to heal. Truly, “a soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” (Prov. 15:1). Since we reap what we sow, don’t be surprised when your anger results in returned anger.
Critical Eyes and Ears
Some families have developed a culture of criticism. They are constantly looking and listening for negatives in other family members. Imperfections are magnified and amplified for all to see and hear. Psychologist Carl Roger writes that “the major barrier to mutual interpersonal communication is our very natural tendency to judge, evaluate, approve (or disapprove) of the statement of the other person or group.”
Children will not confide in critical, fault-finding parents. Wives will withdraw emotionally from husbands who are constantly disrespecting them and judging their motives. Jesus commanded “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt 7:1).
We’ve all heard the expression “the truth hurts.” And it often does. But guess what hurts worse? A lie. Paul exhorted, “Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Eph 4:25). Dishonesty destroys. It breaks trust, arouses suspicion, creates resentment, gives birth to hostility, damages loving relationships and impedes effective communication.
Effective communication is the foundation of a good relationship with your husband. Wife. Children. Or parents. Eradicate these barriers. They will not only block good communication, but kill your relationships.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman