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Many times in my life I have heard “Communication is the key to a healthy marriage.” But, I am here to tell you that it isn’t. In my 6 months of marriage I have learned that communication is NOT the key to a healthy marriage. Rather, healthy communication is the key to a healthy marriage. And trust me, there is a huge difference.

Before this realization, I thought that the more I communicated about an issue and the more I pushed my husband to communicate, the sooner we would find a solution. If communication was the key to a healthy marriage like everyone told me, I wanted to make sure we were each contributing our fair share. I saw communication as a task on my check-list to hurry and mark off, rather than taking a moment to notice if our conversation was actually productive. What were we communicating to each other when we sat on opposite ends of the couch? Were our words building each other up, or tearing each other down? Was I more concerned about being right than about being like Christ?

For the past few days, Jon (my husband) and I have been communicating A LOT. But it has only ended with me in tears and wishing I had just never said anything. The things I had said hurt Jon, which in turn hurt me. Everything I said seemed to just blow up in my face. I thought that if I just talked about the issues, that they would magically be resolved. However, after my magic tricks did not happen the way I wanted them to, I figured I had messed up. If talking about my issues meant hurting Jon, it wasn’t worth it to me.

Over the past couple of days, I have had time to calm down and to seek out God’s Word. One of the things I learned is that you cannot avoid conflict or uncomfortable conversations if you want a healthy marriage. Sometimes, you are going to hurt your spouse’s feelings and he is going to hurt yours. Of course it was a good thing that I did not want to hurt Jon, but sometimes you have to go through the hard stuff to then reach the good. Sometimes pain has to be part of your story for God’s glory to be revealed.

Some of the most important things I learned as I sought out God’s Word. Something to remember is that the only way to keep communication healthy with our spouse is when we apply the principles of Scripture. I found over 30 verses that talked about the standard believers are held to when it comes to communication. Here are just a few…

  • Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” –James 1:19 (ESV)
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” –Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
  • “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” –Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
  • “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” –Psalm 141:3 (ESV)
  • “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” –Proverbs 15:2 (ESV)
  • “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness” –2 Timothy 2:16 (ESV)
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” –Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)
  • A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” – Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)

As you can see from reading these few verses, God does not take communication lightly. Words can either give life or they can bring death. Words can bring healing or cause greater corruption. In our marriages words are necessary. So how can we be healthy as we communicate to our spouses in light of Scripture? I believe David said it perfectly in Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

As I meditate on these words that are thousands of years old, and yet so applicable to us today, I cannot deny that I need God’s help to adjust the way I communicate. As I attempt to control something that comes so naturally to me, my conversations may not happen as quickly as I would like them to. I may have to wait to bring up something rather than discussing it as soon as it enters my mind. I may actually have to pray about it before I talk to my husband about important issues. Obviously, issues will come up that are pressing or come up in a casual conversation about my day that will not give me enough time to grab my Bible and to have a quiet time of prayer. However, I do believe that a quick prayer of “God be with us in this conversation” can truly change the course of our hearts and minds when entering into it. Even just saying His name, “Jesus” can calm a raging storm in our souls.

We are newlyweds who do not have each other figured out. We have learned we don’t even have ourselves figured out. Jon and I haven’t even known each other for two years yet. Living together and communicating with each other are still quite new to us. As we continue on this journey together, we realize we cannot do it alone.

We have now learned that God does not take communication lightly, and neither can we. But the great thing is, God offers us the option of health in the midst of a world that is filled with unhealthy communication.

We pray for every newlywed in this season of life to have a marriage that continues to be transformed by God’s Word and that allows Him to move in your hearts. We pray you live lives that are worthy of the gospel and that look different from the world.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

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Elizabeth McGlathery

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