Note from Pastor - 5-1-22

David Brooks said, “When you choose to marry someone, you had better choose someone you’ll enjoy talking with for the rest of your life.”  This is good advice. Marital intimacy is more than mere physical intimacy.  Even couples who feel natural talking with one another can face times when communication is difficult.  Communication breakdown in marriage can cause great angst and frustration, leaving one or both spouses feeling alone and isolated.  John Prine expresses this frustration in his classic, Angel From Montgomery.  He writes about a husband and wife who had grown old together and their relationship, especially their communication, had grown stagnant, stale, and cold.  The question is asked, “How can a person go to work in the morning, come home in the evening and have nothing to say?”  This is a question that many couples might ask.
Here’s a biblical principle that I have found helpful and encouraging:  
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19).
There are three communication essentials here:
1. Be quick to listen.  Listening is an act of love.  It shows that you actually care about the person, that you’re not apathetic, and you value who they are.  Active listening is often carried out through asking pertinent questions.  When we listen to God speak through His Word, it encourages us and builds us up.  When you listen well to your spouse, God tends to bless and build up your marriage.
2. Be slow to speak. This too has good listening in view, but it’s a little different.  Notice what it doesn’t say; it doesn’t say, “never speak,” but rather “be slow to speak.”  God tells his church to speak to Him through prayer.  Likewise, it is important for there to be both listening and speaking if a marriage is to flourish. 
3. Be slow to anger.  This too doesn’t say “never anger,” but rather “be slow to anger.”  If there’s never at least a little anger in a marriage, you might not be communicating well with your spouse (there might be some healthy marriages that never experience anger, but they are few).  For most of us, anger is prevalent in marriage, usually occurring when there is communication breakdown.  In those moments, it is good to respond with sensitivity and understanding.  Choose your words carefully as you explain to your spouse why you feel angry. Consider phrases such as, “I feel angry because/when…” rather than “You make me angry because/when…. 
Let us continue to lean into healthy communication in marriage and in so doing, strengthen our marriages for the glory of God. 

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