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Communicating God's Way: How to Heal Broken Relationships by Applying Biblical Concepts to Marital Communication

Communicating God’s Way:
How to Heal Broken Relationships by Applying Biblical Concepts to Marital Communication. 

Series Intro

Terrible communication is likely one of the most common roadblocks to healing in broken marriages. Unfortunately, we’re just really, really bad (like as a people) at communicating with each other. We’re selfish, we jump to conclusion, we’re rotten listeners, we assume and presume like nobody’s watching, we manipulate and lie, we spend all kinds of time looking at the faults of others while rarely looking inward to our own faults, and we’re just plain mean to each other. Often times, before we can even think of addressing the larger underlying issues in marriages, we have to first learn to start communicating according to the standards God has laid out for us in Scripture.

So that’s what we’re going to take some time to do. We’re going to open the Word of God together and ask Him to teach us how He wants us to relate to one another. We’re going to learn how to listen. We’ll ask Him to teach us to stop playing the blame-game and take an honest look at ourselves. We’re going to give up all the sinful tactics we use to manipulate and learn to speak the truth in love. Most importantly, by the time we finish this series, I pray we will have the tools we need to communicate openly and honestly within our marriages, having learned to let God handle the responses of our partners. 

*Because this is a long series, we’ve decided to only post additions to it once every three weeks. We’ll be doing the same with our Identified series. So the pattern will be, a Communicating God’s Way series post, a stand alone post, an Identified series post, a Communicating God’s Way post, a stand-alone post, an Identified series post, and so on. 

Colossians 3:8- 10 & 12-19 – But now is the time to get rid of all anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. 
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. 
Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.  

Getting Started with a Clean Slate 

We’ll get into this in much more detail as the series progresses, but if we have any hope of achieving healthy communication habits, we’re going to have to find a way to first let go of our anger, and second be committed to truth.  

Look at the first section from the passage in Colossians we read above. Telling lies and living in a state of anger are the results of our old sinful nature! They have absolutely no place in the life of a follower of Christ. If we’re committed to Him, He’s given us everything we need to conquer those sinful patterns. 

We are fully capable, through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, to live a life of integrity. We can tell the truth. Always. We really can! We can let go of anger and rage and live in peace. We can speak words that are pleasing to God. All of these things are possible for us when we learn to know our Creator!  

That’s it. That’s all it takes. We simply have to be renewed by getting to know Him! When we do, His Spirit will fill us up. He’ll take over for us and cause our actions to line up with His will. He’ll make us more and more like Him each and every day. 

So let’s start our pursuit of communicating God’s way with a commitment to get to know our Lord. Let’s seek Him daily through Bible reading, prayer, and worship. 
 

Choose Kindness with Thanksgiving 

The second part of the equation is going to be a resolve to treat one another with kindness, and to regularly thank God for each other. I understand this may seem impossible right now, but let’s stop and ask God to help us as we just try. 

Let’s look again at the middle section of the Colossians passage above: 

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 

I’m going to assume there was a time when we were all in love with the person we married. There was something about our partner that convinced us he/she was the one for us. Chances are, those qualities are still there. We may see them a little more clearly now, tainted with the stains of our sinful natures rather than seen through the rose-colored lens of young love, but they’re there nonetheless. Let’s take a little time each morning before we start our day to thank God for those qualities in our spouse.  

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Colossians 3:12-13

If that exercise feels impossible to you, there’s likely some unforgiveness lurking in your heart. No doubt for good reason, but the Bible doesn’t really leave room for unforgiveness. As hard as it is, before we’re going to be able to be thankful for our partners, we’re going to have to learn to forgive them.  

Again, we’ll go more deeply into this later in the series, but for now let’s just remember how God has forgiven us. No matter who we are, our sins are great. We don’t deserve His forgiveness, and we certainly have done nothing to earn it. Yet it has been given to us freely because someone else paid the very high price. Are we really going to withhold that grace from someone else? 

The fact is, at the root of almost every problem in marriage (and really in life), is pride. Unforgiveness is no different. If we’re having a hard time extending kindness, grace, and mercy, we’ve likely not seen ourselves rightly through the lens of Scripture. We almost certainly believe, deep down, that we’re better than our spouse; that our sin weighed less heavily upon the body of our dying Lord than those of another. And that, my friends, is a lie so black it has the power to destroy us! 

If we're having a hard time extending kindness, grace, and mercy, we likely believe ourselves better than our spouse; as if our sins weighed less heavily upon the body of our dying Lord. A lie so black it can destroy us! Click To Tweet

So, let’s humble ourselves before our Savior and ask Him to help us forgive. Let’s allow our own undeserved right standing to spill out of us in the form of kindness, gentleness, patience, and a willingness to love the flawed, broken human to whom we united ourselves in marriage. 

Understand Your Identity in Christ and be Committed to His Role for You. 

As the last section of the Colossians passage above states: whatever we do or say, we’re doing as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. This certainly includes the ways we’re communicating with our spouses!  

We’ve been created by God with intention. He has a plan for us. If we’re married, that plan includes our partner in life! He’s given us specific roles within that relationship intended to make our lives fuller, healthier, and a beautiful picture for the world of the relationship between Christ and His church. We don’t have to live in fear of those roles. We can embrace them, knowing God created them for our good and His glory. 

Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

Wives, that means a role of submission to our own husbands. This isn’t some obscure concept found in one isolated and outdated part of Scripture. (Though even if it was, it would still stand.) It is a concept found all over the Bible, from beginning to end.  

God designed apple trees to produce apples, not grapes. It would be ridiculous to get upset with Him for depriving an apple tree of the ability to produce grape juice, and stubbornly trying to force it to do so. We’d be missing the obvious beauty of the apple and all the magnificence it has to offer to the world! In the same way, it is ridiculous to be angry with Him for creating women to serve a unique and exquisite function in marriage. (And frankly ladies, we got the MUCH better end of the deal! Submitting to a flawed husband is WAY easier than unconditionally and sacrificially loving a human wife!) 

The thing is, submission cannot be forced. If it is, it’s not actually submission it’s subservience, and that is a grossly distorted representation of something that is truly beautiful. Submission can only be freely given, just as Jesus freely submitted Himself to the will of His Father and gave His life for us on the cross.  

So, this issue is only between you and God. No one else can see your heart, so no one else can know whether you’re doing it or not. You will stand before God one day and answer to Him and Him alone for whether or not you were obedient in this. It won’t matter whether your husband was a good leader, nor whether he loved you as he’s supposed to or spent his life assuring you of your failures. All that will matter is, did you honor the role God created you to fill by being obedient to Him? So do it for Him, and Him alone! 

Husbands, this means your role is to love your wives. According to Ephesians 5:25, “as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” I don’t care what anyone says, you all got the more difficult job! And frankly, you got the weightier job too because the Bible makes it clear that leaders will always be held more accountable than those under their leadership.  

You’re going to stand before God one day and answer for the way you treated your wife. The only thing that will be acceptable is for you to have treated her with unconditional, sacrificial love! It won’t matter whether she submitted to you, whether she nagged you, whether she picked fights at every turn. It won’t matter if she was unforgiving, or even downright nasty. The only thing you’ll have to answer for is, did you love your wife the way Christ loved the church? 

Christ didn’t wait for the church to repent before He offered His life as a sacrifice for her. His sacrifice came first! Men, it is imperative to the success of your marriage (as well as to your integrity before God) that you never EVER demand submission from your wife, and certainly that your love never be dependent on her successes or failures. If you have spent even one minute of your life berating her for a lack of submission, or for some other failure apologize today and commit to drop the issue for the rest of time. Leave her to God, and you deal with you! 

Our role in marriage has far more to do with our relationship with God than it does our relationship with our spouse. Healthy communication in marriage is exactly the same. Click To Tweet

As you can see, whether you’re a man or a woman, our role in marriage has far more to do with our relationship with God than it does our relationship with our spouse. Healthy communication in marriage is exactly the same. It’s about living in obedience to God by allowing Him to be in control of every word that comes out of our mouths. It’s about making this verse the cry of our hearts: 

Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 

Let’s get to work! 

*How about you? In what ways do you see yourself needing to work on the communication in your marriage?


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***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  1. Alice Mills

    I read a study of married couples who had made the decision to divorce. The experiment was to help them articulate to the other the most honest truth they could. Things like ‘I don’t feel love for you.’ and ‘I resent you for….’ Those couple able say the most truthful things began to feel love for one another even if it was love that was lacking. Truthfulness builds bridges more than we realize.

    • Esther Hosea

      Amen! That is probably in the top three things I counsel couples (mostly women) to do. Speak the truth. Especially to yourself, but also to your spouse. Pretending things are okay when they are not doesn’t do anyone any favors. We’ll talk a lot more about that down the road in this series when we dedicate a whole post to truthfulness.

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