Love is... Communication

I talk a lot about weddings. Those joyous once-in-a-lifetime occasions that are chalk full of romance, laughter, and champagne. After all… I am in the business of weddings. But what about after the pictures have been delivered and the married days turn quickly into months and then gradually into years? What about after the wedding day?!

The days after the wedding is when those nice little ‘till death do us part’ vows are tested.

I am amazed at how much time is spent preparing for the wedding day and how much money! But what I am even more amazed by is how little time and money is spent preparing for MARRIAGE! A wedding is one day. Your marriage is to last a lifetime.

I guess that’s why so many marriages end in divorce. I hate that word. I hate that it is such an option in our culture today. Instead of the last resort that it should be, it is treated rather like a ‘get out of jail’ card.

Sure there are so many reasons to get divorced. I believe that every couple will face the idea of giving up in divorce during many points in their marriage. But what is it that leads to divorce?! How do we get from the wedding reception’s ‘happily ever after’ best man toasts to ‘Honey, I want a divorce’?

A breakdown of Love. At some point somewhere someone has stopped fighting to Love.

We humans express everything through language. We communicate ideas, feelings, emotions, hurts, hopes and dreams through our verbal and non-verbal language. Communication is a difficult thing, especially between the male and female races. It’s like completely different languages! Male-speak and female-speak. I really believe that if I want to honor my vows to my wife and stay married I need desperately to learn how to communicate to her my love in love everyday. I’ve only been married for a whole 3 months so I know that I have so much to learn! But I am determined to learn healthy communication from the beginning of our marriage and until death do us part. I don’t see divorce as a fast pass to the selfish desires of ‘me’; but as the enemy of me becoming a husband that loves selflessly.

One thing we did to invest in the coming years of our marriage was pre-marital counseling. I strongly recommend it to everyone planning on taking on the challenge of marriage. Some amazing friends named Pat & Lori were kind enough to spend something like 14 sessions with us to prepare us with the tools and resources to have an amazing marriage for a lifetime. One of the topics was communication. I know that not everybody has the opportunity to go through pre-maritals so I would love to share it with anybody that is planning a wedding or is already married. May these simple guidelines and ancient Proverbs of wisdom give you a head start on learning to communicate with the person you plan on spending the rest of your life with. And may it be an amazing adventure!

These pictures are of Pat & Lori serving us communion during our wedding. They read some verses and prayed over us, blessing our coming marriage. The bible has a lot to say about marriage and especially communication. Even if you don't believe in the bible I'm sure you will be able to learn from the basic truth offered about this topic. I know this is a list that I will need to freshen up on often as I progress through the many years of my marriage.

Communication Guidelines
(stolen from some premarital book that I don’t know the name of)

1. Be a ready listener, and do not answer until the other person has finished talking (Proverbs 18:13; James 1:19).
2. Be slow to speak. Think first. Don’t be hasty in your words. Speak in such a way that the other person can understand and accept what you say (Proverbs 15:23; Proverbs 18:2; Proverbs 29:20).
3. Don’t go to bed angry! Each day, clear the offenses of that day. Speak the truth, but do it in love. Do not exaggerate (Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 4: 25-26).
4. Do not use silence to frustrate the other person. Explain why you are hesitant to talk at this time (Proverbs 15:28; 16:23).
5. Do not become involved in heated disputes. It is possible to disagree without attacking (Proverbs 14:29; 15:1; 25:15; 29:11).
6. Do not respond in uncontrolled anger. Use a kind response and a soft tone voice (Proverbs 14:29; 15:1; 25:15; 29:11).
7. When you are wrong, admit it, ask for forgiveness and then ask how you can change (Proverbs 12:15; 16:2; 21:2; Matthew 5:23-25).
8. When someone confesses a wrong to you, tell that person you forgive him/her. Be sure it is forgiven and not brought up again to that person, to others or to yourself (Luke 17:3-4; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).
9. Avoid nagging (Proverbs 10:19; 21:19; 27:15).
10. Do not blame or criticize the other person. Instead, restore, encourage and edify (Romans 14:13; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).
11. If someone verbally attacks, criticizes or blames you, do not respond in the same manner (Romans 12:17, 21; 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 3:9).
12. Try to understand the other person’s opinions. Make allowances for differences (Ephesians 4:2; 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 3:9).
13. Be concerned about the other person’s interest (Philippians 2:4).
14. Do not gossip (Proverbs 17:9; 18:8; 20:19; 26:22).