The Path of Communication
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. - Proverbs 17:27
We had selected our destination—a lake miles away. It would take two hours of hiking to get there. As we left the parking area, we were suddenly faced with a choice of trails.
Of the three leading into the mountain area, one seemed to be more traveled and better kept than the others. As we hiked along, we soon discovered that this was a well-traveled and central trail. From time to time a secondary trail branched out to a lake, mountain or high meadow area.
We passed more than 12 branching trails before we reached what we thought was our destination. Instead of finding the lake we were seeking, we had reached a rise overlooking three small but inviting lakes scattered about a basin.
Our trail divided into three paths, each leading through the pines to one of these lakes. We now had a greater variety of available lakes for our fishing expedition.
Thinking back, we realized that our choice of the main path had given us a wide variety of options. No doubt we would have discovered one of the lakes we fished by taking one of the smaller-branching trails.
But the well-worn trail gave access to many natural delights. Without it, our experiences would have been greatly limited.
One of the main paths that feeds the marital relationship is communication. Communication is the main artery that gives access to other avenues.
“Without communication, the possibilities for a relationship become hopeless, the resources of the partners for the relationship are no longer available, the means for healing the hurts that previous communication may have caused are no longer present; and each, when he recovers from his need to justify himself and hurt the other, will find himself in a bottomless pit of loneliness from which he cannot be pulled except by the ropes of communication, which may or may not be capable of pulling him out again because of their weakened condition.”
Reuel Howe said: “If there is any one indispensable insight with which a young married couple should begin their life together, it is that they should try to keep open, at all cost, the lines of communication between them.”
Dr. David and Vera Mace painted the following picture of communication and marriage: “A marriage can be likened to a large house with many rooms to which a couple fall heir on their wedding day.
Their hope is to use and enjoy these rooms, as we do the rooms in a comfortable home, so that they will serve the many activities that make up their shared life.
But in many marriages, doors are found to be locked—they represent areas in the relationship which the couple are unable to explore together. Attempts to open these doors lead to failure and frustration.
The right key cannot be found. So the couple resign themselves to living together in only a few rooms that can be opened easily, leaving the rest of the house, with all its promising possibilities, unexplored and unused.
“There is, however, a master key that will open every door. It is not easy to find. Or, more correctly, it has to be forged by the couple together, and this can be very difficult. It is the great art of effective marital communication.”
Is one pattern of communication better than others? Is one style more productive than others? Many helpful books have been written about this topic during the past few years.
A much older book, however, provides the most comprehensive and helpful pattern of all. This book is called the Bible. You may want to read what is says.
The following verses will help you as you begin your journey: James 3:2; 1 Peter 3:10; Proverbs 18:21; 21:23; 15:4; 25:15; Ephesians 4:15,25.
H. Norman Wright is a licensed Family Counselor and child therapist and has taught in the Grad. Department of Biola University. He is the author of more than seventy books