I’m so excited about the feedback we’ve been receiving during our Relationship Rehab series! I really do believe that the Word of God absolutely changes lives. Recently, we’ve heard several testimonies of how God’s Word has been changing marriages. In some of my recent blogs, Marriage Is Cake or The Sugar of Marriage, we touched on the first portion of this series, “
Perfect Marriage.” This week I want to speak about "How to be heard." How we speak to our spouses is so important for the trajectory of our marriages. Not only does this skill apply to marriages, but it will apply to any relationship!
When you love someone you pay attention. Love is attention. It costs much more than money. We can always get more money, but we can't get more time. We are all allotted a certain amount of time. When you pay attention you are giving someone a piece of your life. It is a highly valued currency in our culture that we often neglect. We all hunger for the attention of our loved ones and when we don’t get it we may react in ways that do more harm than good.
Just as much as we want to be heard, we have to be willing to listen–especially to our spouses and loved ones. Thankfully, giving someone attention is a skill that can be learned. Here are three Bible verses to remember when wanting to be heard.
“Intelligent people think before they speak: what they say is then more persuasive.”
You may have heard this saying a thousand times, but did you know it was a Bible verse? Think before you speak!
If you actually take time to think about what you’re going to say before you bring up issues in a conversation, you’re going to have greater impact. So often, we think that if we get really emotional then our audience will understand how upset we are. But in reality, if you come at someone red in the face, emotion is THE ONLY thing that person sees and hears. We need to remember that when we’re having a big conversation, emotion is the enemy. You will also want to bring up your thoughts with God before you bring up an emotional conversation with your spouse. Consider what you’re going to say prayerfully, and you will have even greater impact!
“(Speak) only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that may benefit those who listen.”
We’re often thinking of just ourselves when we speak or give others our attention. So then you may ask yourself "why should I put others first?" It’s very simple. Because of Jesus Christ. When we consider our reverence for Him, it makes us want to put others before ourselves...just like He did. Instead of subconsciously asking yourself, “Why am I listening to this” or “What’s in it for me,” start with their needs and ask yourself “What is in it for them?”
This applies to either side of the conversation. When you’re speaking, start with their needs. People typically connect to these three things when listening to what you’re saying: Things that could be threatening, things that are unique, and things that the listener values. If you want to be heard, start with the things that your audience values. When you consider their needs, you're more likely to be heard.
“For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter …”
The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a right time and a right way to do everything. We’re wasting our breath if we do not wait for the right moment to speak. You can have the happiest news in the world, but if your timing is off, it will fall on deaf ears. You might be ready ... but ask yourself if your audience is ready. Are they tired, frustrated, or even hangry? Take your time to say what it is you want to say!
For example ... have you ever wondered why we have worship music before the message on Sundays? When our services start, I’m FIRED up! But I know the timing of my message isn’t right until you’ve had a second to take a deep breath and relax in your seat. Participating in worship prepares our hearts for what God wants to speak into each of our lives specifically.
It’s important that we don’t just acknowledge these things as “good biblical principles.” We need to apply the Word of God to our lives in all areas and that includes our marriages. It’s important to read the Bible as though it’s highly practical because it is! A lot of people stop reading the Bible because they assume the messages will go right over their heads. We forget that the Bible was given to us to use, remember, and to give us daily hope in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Applying God’s Word to our lives draws us closer to Christ and tells Him that He has permission to do a work in us that we could not do ourselves. You may think your marriage is too far gone, but God’s not done with you yet! For more on "how to be heard," join us in our Relationship Rehab series on Sundays in person or online at SkylineChurch.org.