When husbands and wives neglect marital communication, hurt and emotional distance replace intimacy.
Family Counseling Ministries -
The natural tendency of most marriage partners is to avoid
conflict with each other. We shrink from the prospect of being emotionally
wounded, and thus, few of us wish to rock the marriage boat. Choosing the
path of least resistance, we opt for peace at any cost. This is a shallow
sort of peace, however, and is not the kind of peace we read about in Gods
In any marriage relationship, whether it is stagnant or
growing, conflict will inevitably occur. When an offending spouse handles
conflict in an unbiblical manner, he or she may justify his or her angry
outburst with such thoughts as, I had to say it. I cant put up with this
irritation any longer. At least I feel better now that Ive gotten it off my
chest. The offended partner, on the other hand, may react defensively: Youre
one to talk. What about all of your quirks that I put up with?
Retreat is another typical response. Many husbands and wives
respond to their spouses anger with silence: I just wont say anything at
all. It probably wont do any good to answer since she never listens to me
Gradually, deep hurt and a deafening absence of communication
replace the openness and intimacy God intends for husbands and wives to enjoy.
As they withdraw their spirits from one another, the resulting emotional
distance robs them of their marvelous potential to bear spiritual fruit for
Men and women, who once covenanted before God to love each
other with the kind of love described in I Corinthians 13, now erect walls of
self-protection between themselves. Little by little, marriage partners begin
to keep a detailed score of wrongs. Hope fades. Patience wears thin. They begin
to take the liberty of treating one another rudely. A stubborn unwillingness to
endure wrongs creeps into the relationship. Winning and having ones own way
become the prevailing goals for both partners.
Both spouses soon discover that they must continually expend
vital spiritual and emotional energy in an ongoing, exhausting effort to
protect themselves from one another.
Where he was once tenderhearted and vulnerable, he is now
determined to guard himself from being hurt by his wife again. Where she once
eagerly shared her heart with her husband, she now makes a calculated decision
never to make that mistake again. Communication between them has died a painful
God instructs us very specifically in His Word, how to
handle marital conflict resolution in such a way that glorifies Him and
enhances the marriage relationship. Conflict can indeed be beneficial if we
deal with it in the right way. Although rules exist that tell us how to fight
fair and win, we do not know these rules in our natural minds. Yet, we can and
must learn them if we desire to have a marriage that honors the Lord.