Communication in Marriage

Does this quote describe your marriage? “When [Christians] should be marching side by side through this world taking men captive for Jesus Christ, they are acting instead like an army that has been routed and scattered and whose troops in their confusion have begun fighting among themselves.” (Christian Living the Home, P&R, 1972, p 36)

Jay Adams was referring to the church broadly, and he was writing in 1972, but things have not improved much, and I suspect many of our marriages have too much ‘fighting among [ourselves]’. To face the trouble of life and to be ready to “march side by side through this world” with a common goal and mission, husband and wife must be on the same page. If we are to be of one mind with our spouse we must communicate. Lots.

This is why armies spend so much time talking through mission plans and going over them again and again. Everyone in the platoon needs to be of the same mind when the bullets start flying.

Do you have unity of mind with your spouse? If not, perhaps that is due to one of the following 3 problems:

  1. Insufficient communication

Our model in all things to do with marriage is Jesus Christ. If we want to know how to be on the same page as our spouse, we need to listen to Jesus. God is a communicating God. He speaks directly to us and tells us all we need to know about him, about his plans, about his desires and his standards. He desires to have regular communication with us. We see the Psalmist, for instance, thinking about and reading God’s Word at least every day, perhaps multiple times a day! (Psalm 1) We hear God speak when we come to church each week, when we go to Bible studies and every time we read the Bible. And, as we hear from him and engage with him in covenantal conversation, we will grow in Christ-likeness. Our mind will be renewed and conformed to his.

In John 15:15, Jesus says, ‘No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known to you.’

We need to talk regularly with our spouse. Two people who do not talk much will never grow closer together – they will only drift further apart. And we need to speak to our spouse as a friend, as a trusted confidant, as someone to whom we want to open our heart.

Paul says that he has this sort of conversation with the Corinthians: “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open” (2 Cor 6:11). Calvin comments on this verse: “Paul here says nothing but what we every day experience, for when we have to do with friends, our heart is enlarged, all our feelings are laid open, there is nothing there that is hid, nothing shut, — nay more, the whole mind leaps and exults to unfold itself openly to view.”

This is the sort of conversation that leads to unity of mind.

It includes discussion of major goals, desires, difficulties, particular situations and joys.

  • Disagreements

The second difficulty in becoming of one mind is that we will all inevitably disagree at some point.

In order to be united through deep conversation, we must approach things with a humble mind. We are weak and sinful and limited. We don’t know everything and we can be wrong. And, not everything that we think is super important is really that important.

The colour of the linen on your bed might not be worth fighting about.

We should look for as many opportunities as possible to die to self. Wherever we see a disagreement about something that is not a moral issue, it is good to give up. And it is even better to seek to outdo one another in giving up.

All it takes is one humble mind and a large percentage of fights disappear.

But there are some things that are worth fighting about – where the Bible speaks. That brings us to the last – but most fundamental – principle of being of one mind.

  • Unite around Christ

The best way for two soldiers to be of one mind is for them to follow the same captain.

The best way for you to grow in one-mindedness in your marriage is to follow Christ together. Seek to build all your plans and goals and all the details of your life around what Jesus says and you will find that you grow closer and closer together.

– Tom Eglinton