While the struggles of communication are common to marriages of every stripe, for the Christian marriage there is a communication lifeline tucked away in God’s Word - The Bible.
It is the opportunity to build a “Three Way Conversation” between the Husband, Wife and God. It is seen in the marriage of Samson’s parents in Judges 13 (before Samson is born). Samson’s father Manoah and his mother who is unnamed, move beyond the typical back and forth, he speaks - she speaks, way of communicating that often escalates into harsh words or even worse, silence. Instead they demonstrate a, “Three Way Communicaion” between husband, wife and God that is in many ways different from the communication advice we normally receive.
- Listen for the Voice of God. Manoah’s wife is barren and unable to have children at this point. Yet while alone, God speaks to her in Judges 13:1-5 and tells this woman that is unable to have children about the child she will give birth to and how to raise the child. Imagine that - God shows up and tells her how to handle a situation that is not even possible at the time.
- Time to Talk...She then shares the good news with her husband that God has made clear to her. While it seems like a “no-brainer” that in order to have better communication couples must talk, in our high-pressure, dual income, have to drop the kids off at ballet and baseball in time to make it to Bible Study - oh and cook dinner, society, Husbands and Wives often find it hard to make time just to have a meaningful conversation.
- Have a Three Way Conversation. But after hearing from his wife that even though they are unable to have children, God is going to give them a child, he responds in an unusual way. Rather than questioning his wife or refuting what she is telling him, Manoah enters into a three-way conversation, between himself, his wife and God (Judges 13:8).
First he entreats the Lord, which is to earnestly ask God for guidance. But, second, he asks God to, “teach us what to do”. Wow!! Manoah’s response to his wife is to respond to God. Rather than rush in and respond to her he asks to hear from God. Manoah’s response is the marriage equivalent of, “think before you speak”, which is, “Pray before you respond”. How many arguments or disagreements could you and your spouse have avoided by taking a moment to say, “Lord, teach us what to do.”, rather than responding to one another?
- God Answers. When he asks God what to do, God listens to his voice and responds in 13:9. They then are able to watch together, side by side, as husband and wife as God does miracles in their sight. As God enables this previously barren woman to conceive and give birth to Samson, the great deliverer of Israel.
Take time to talk, enter God into the conversation and watch him show up in the midst of your marriage. Here is how you and your spouse can enter into a three way conversation with God.
- Begin reading God’s Word together. Start with either the Psalms or Proverbs (according to the day of the month works pretty well, i.e. if today is the 9th of the month, then read the 9th chapter and so on). Agree with what you will read for the week and begin reading. You don’t have to read it together
- Pick a day of the week to sit down and talk about what you read. Have fun with it, go to the local coffee shop, go for a walk, go for a drive, etc... When you talk, just reflect on what you read, and what it made you think of, or feel. This is not a Bible study, do not judge what is being shared, just listen to your spouse - Just share your thoughts.
- Watch God show up. As you share your thoughts of what you read, what stood out to you, what it made you think of - God will begin to deepen the conversation in your marriage. Often couples start off talking about something they saw in Psalms 34 for example and in short time they are opening up and talking about their future or raising their kids. GO wherever God takes you - Read his word, talk about it together and watch God show up.
Edward is the author of Husbands, Wives, God: Introducing the Marriages of the Bible to Your Marriage. In his book, he explores seven marriages that show modern couples how to build a better relationship with each other by building a better relationship with God. Edward is an ordained Christian minister, currently living in Baltimore, MD, with his wife and son. The book is now available at Barnes and Noble Bookstores, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, most independent Christian bookstores and Edward’s website: www.edwardclee.com
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