February 19, 2023
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Communicate or Disintegrate.
There is no way for a marriage to thrive unless husband and wife learn to communicate. Jesus, Himself gives married couples God’s design for good communication that leads to a healthy relationship.
Christ is the master communicator—so much so that He is called the Word of God. (Read John 1.) It was He “‘who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:22-23).
That is in 1 Peter 2. Then chapter 3 begins, “Wives, likewise…” Verse 7, “Husbands, likewise…” Peter is saying, “As Jesus did, do likewise.”
We communicate on various levels. The deepest level is where there are no holds barred, where we know one another such that we are not afraid or ashamed to be completely and honestly intimate in the deepest part of our lives.
It comes from the Latin word intimus, meaning “inmost.” In our sex‑saturated society, we think of “intimacy” as meaning sexual intimacy. But the truth is, there can be no true sexual intimacy unless there is spiritual intimacy and emotional intimacy. It takes real intimacy to have a good marriage.
“For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10). That is, the secret of a peaceful life is to make communication the number one aim of your marriage. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21; read also James 3:1-12). You can kill your marriage or give it life by learning effective communication skills.
Sometimes, men do not talk enough. Sometimes, women are given to talking too much. We come at things differently.
God made the man to be the provider and the protector, so He gave men the mind to do the job—analytical and tough. They cannot let their emotions get involved too much, or they won’t get the job done.
But God made the woman to be tender, soft, and receiving. She is to be the heartbeat of the home. She is logical, but she brings in emotion because that is the way God made her.
This is why Peter says, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding” (1 Peter 3:7a), and “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1a). He is telling married couples how to have a happy marriage.
Jesus, “when He was reviled, did not revile in return ” (1 Peter 2:23a).
The Bible warns of “a root of bitterness” that defiles many people. (See Hebrews 12:15.) Sometimes marriages have problems because of unforgiving spirits. “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27; emphasis added).
The most selfless act ever done was Jesus dying upon the cross—He “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:6-7a).
Do you know what most of the arguments in your home are about? Ego against ego. When we are so interested in exonerating self (pride), we don’t really attack the problem—we attack one another.
“For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). The Lord Jesus was so interested in having intimate fellowship with us that when we were distracted and went astray, He came after us and brought us back to Himself.
Sometimes, the wife must go after the husband. Sometimes, the husband must go after the wife. We tend to wander, like sheep, but we need to be like Jesus, the Shepherd. We need to show interest when we’re communicating—this can be as simple as changing our body language and maintaining eye contact so that it is clear we are truly listening.
Peter says, “Finally, all of you be of one mind…” (1 Peter 3:8a). That is, get on the same page. That is difficult.
With the grace of God, you can have a wonderful marriage even with great differences. Opposites often attract. But you have to understand these differences. Being “of one mind” takes negotiation, talk, and understanding.
We don’t want to “lay it all out.” Why? Because we do not trust the other. We are afraid that if we open up and share our weaknesses and our spouses see us as we really are, they might not like us.
It takes a tremendous amount of trust to do this, and a lot of 1 Peter 3:8—“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”
We’re so busy…“He who would love life and see good days….let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:10a-11b; emphasis added). You are going to have to make time for your marriage.
Here are some suggestions:
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
Be tender. Listen to her.
A wife is not going to nag her husband into being good. But—“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1). If she will change, he cannot be the same, because now he is reacting to something different.
Get alone with God and deal with your egos. If Christ is on the throne of his life and Christ is on the throne of her life, Christ in him is not going to fight Christ in her. Both of you, get your life in tune with the Lord, and you will be in tune with one another.
Whether or not your wife or your husband is willing to cooperate, overlook the negativism, “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). If your spouse throws fire, you throw water. Stop being so concerned about who is right or wrong.
How do you talk to a spouse who won’t listen? If you sense that your spouse has a closed spirit, work on it. Find a reason. Learn to be gentle. The best way to change your spouse is to change yourself. Somebody has to take the initiative—and God holds the man primarily responsible to be the initiator.
Husbands, seek her. Wives, seek him. Make time for communication. Get out of the house. Have some fun! Laugh. Lighten up.
“He who would love life and see good days,” let him follow the example of Jesus. The closest thing to Heaven is a Christian home in which a husband and wife have achieved intimacy, and one of the ways to do it is through good communication.
1 Peter 2:21‑25, 3:1-11; Proverbs 18:21; James 3:1-12; Hebrews 12:15; Ephesians 4:26-27; Philippians 2:6-7
LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?...He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend...