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Three Words That Can Change Your Marriage

Strengthening Your Marriage Through Honest Communication

Communication is often hailed as the cornerstone of any successful relationship, and nowhere is this more evident than in marriage.

Here’s an example from a memorable trip we made to Malawi, Africa, back in the summer of
2006. My wife Tori and I were enroute to visit her missionary parents when an unexpected bird strike forced our plane to make an unscheduled stop in Dakar, Senegal. Amidst the chaos, we faced the urgent need to inform Tori's parents about the delay. However, our attempts at communication hit a snag as language barriers left us frustrated and helpless. This experience mirrors the challenges many couples encounter in marriage—feeling like they're speaking different languages.

Indeed, communication in marriage can be difficult, but it's also essential for fostering
understanding and connection.  In Ephesians 4:25-32, we find guidance on truthful communication. While this passage wasn't specifically written for marriages, its principles are applicable to all aspects of life, including marital relationships.

                 Ephesians 4:25 - Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each
                 one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.

The crux of Ephesians 4:25 lies in speaking the truth, but not just any truth—truth infused with love. This distinction is crucial. Honest communication isn't about merely "speaking one's mind" without regard for the impact of our words. Instead, it's about constructive honesty that builds up rather than tears down.

Constructive honesty involves affirming our spouse's identity and seeking to understand their perspective. It avoids destructive speech patterns like name-calling, mind-reading,
exaggerations, and shaming, which only serve to erode trust and intimacy.  Instead, constructive speech affirms our spouse's worth and fosters empathy, mirroring the
example of Christ who entered into our world and experienced it fully. Practicing empathy allows us to understand our spouse's feelings and motivations, paving the way for deeper connection and mutual respect.

One powerful phrase that encapsulates this approach is "help me understand." These three
simple words can revolutionize communication within a marriage, facilitating genuine dialogue
and emotional connection. Ultimately, the words we choose shape the world we inhabit, both individually and as a couple. By prioritizing honest, loving communication, we can cultivate a world of love within our marriage—one characterized by understanding, grace, and mutual support.

Building a strong marital foundation takes time and intentional effort, but by committing to
honest communication, we can strengthen the bond between partners and create a tighter knot in our marriage that withstands the tests of time.
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