Biblical Communication: A Marriage Survival Art Session 2 Notes

Biblical Communication: A Marriage Survival Art

Session 2

Communication in Marriage is Difficult


Personal working assumptions - Judy and I attempt to live out our marriage on the basis of at least three primary notions: 


We are fully and happily committed to each other and to our marriage for life. 


We made these promises to one another from day one (even though we really didn’t know what we were doing and were not adequately prepared).


We both embrace the notion that personal godliness can not exist without commitment to each other.


We are both sinners and by nature self centered. 


Therefore we expect that things will not always be peaches and cream! It’s who we are! We plan to win the war but expect to lose some battles.


We are convinced that communication is a key factor to success in our marriage. 


It is a practical and significant tool God has given us to aid us in our goal of glorifying God by living harmoniously together as we constantly strive to overcome our sinful tendencies.


We are not discounting personal godliness, obeying Biblical directives, growing in Christ, or the ministry of the Holy Spirit.


Reasons we must work at communication


There are certain factors inherent in the communication process that tend to diminish effective communication and make it difficult. 


1.Communication in marriage takes place between two fundamentally different people – a man and a woman 


Illustration - Women tend to see through pink sunglasses and hear through pink hearing aids. Men tend to see through blue sunglasses and hear through blue hearing aids. The result is two different perspectives - pink and blue. The trick is to blend the two colors or perspectives. If you can do so, the result is a new color; purple (blue and red mixed together make purple; blue and pink mixed together make a shade of purple). So, if a husband and wife can blend their perspectives they can arrive at a new perspective. (See Love and Respect. Eggerichs, various pages). 


Let’s further explore this concept of the difference between men and women:


a.The Bible makes it clear that men and women are similar but essentially different. 


i. The concept of equality


God designed men and women as spiritually equal. Passages such as Galatians 3:28 indicate this:  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male (ἄρσην = the male sex; cf ἀνήρ = man) nor female ( θῆλυς  = the female sex; cf γυνή = woman) ; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  


Men and women are spiritual equals period. End of story. Nonetheless, this great statement of spiritual equality does not mean that there is no real difference between men and women in the same way that the text is not saying there is no actual difference between ethnicity (Jew and Greek).


So, this truth of equal but different can be tricky to work out in marriage. In a perfect scenario, the husband should be able to value his wife’s perspective regarding biblical understanding and application even though he is the designated leader. His communication should reflect this. The wife should be able to follow her husband even though she is on absolute equal footing with him “in Christ Jesus”. But it is not a perfect scenario. Both parties are self centered sinners who often succumb to pride. Illustration: In a particular team counseling case, my asking for Judy’s viewpoint and deferring to her better course of action. And Judy deferring to me on a different matter even though she thinks we could take a better approach.  


ii. The design of creation 


  • The statement of Genesis 1:26-27: Then God said, "Let Us make man ( אָדָם֙ adawm) in Our image, according to Our likeness; … 27 God created man ( אָדָם֙) in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male (זָכָ֥ר zakar) and female  (נְקֵבָה nekaybaw) He created them. 


Both men and women are equally “like” God; that is they both possess spiritual resemblance to God (“image’ and “likeness”). This is also true post fall (Genenes 9:6). However, they are categorically different in that they are “male” and “female”. This is a radical uniqueness.  A male can never be a female and vice versa.


ï The detail of Genesis 2:18-24: Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man ( אָדָם֙ adawm; also vs19, 20, 21,22, 23a) to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman (אִשָּׁה 'ishshah = woman) the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman (אִשָּׁה ‘ishshah), Because she was taken out of Man”(אִישׁ ‘iysh). 24 For this reason a man(אִישׁ ‘iysh) shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife (אִשָּׁה ‘ishshah); and they shall become one flesh.


It is clear that the man and woman are radically different: 


a- The “helper” concept infers difference. 

b- They are identified by different words for essential being: man and woman

c- The man’s response upon seeing the woman for the first   time shows that she did not mirror him.

 d- The assigned task of becoming one flesh implies a fundamental difference. 


  • This creational difference goes beyond physical features. I believe that men and women possess dispositional differences as well. They innately display distinct propensities. We’ll unpack that concept a bit later. Illustration: A few weeks ago before the worship service in the auditorium watching little girls flock around a mom and her newborn baby. I heard “oh” and “ah” as they begged to hold the baby. Then, following the service I observed a gang of little boys in the foyer wrestling and rolling on the floor with gleeful laughter. 


iii. A directive to husbands


ïNAU  1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”


Clearly, the woman is distinguished from the man as the “weaker vessel”, a “woman”, and a “fellow heir”.  This implies an innate difference. Two categories. 


An additional learning from this passage is the  relationship between the husband, the wife, and God.


Group Project: Create a visual that captures the relationship between the husband, the wife, and God based on 1 Peter 3:7. Or plenary class discussion regarding how 1 Pet 3:7 informs the constantly evolving relationship between a husband and wife. 


After discussion or reports, introduce and explain the triangle visual (see below plus 2 expanded PPT slides). 


 

      



1 Peter 3:7 

You husbands in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

iv.The circumstances of the fall 

ïNAU  1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression


Two different words are translated “deceived” by the NAU. The NAS captures this with “deceived” (ἀπατάω) and “quite deceived” (ἐξαπατάω). Does this indicate a fundamental difference in predisposition? Much debate over this. 


v.The nature of sexuality 

ïNAU  Proverbs 5:19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.

ïNAU  Song of Solomon 7:7-8 "Your stature is like a palm tree, And your breasts are like its clusters. 8 "I said, 'I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.' Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, And the fragrance of your breath like apples, 

ï1 Corinthians 7:1-9


These passages clinch the deal. Men and women are separate and different genders! (I am using “gender” to refer to sex assigned at birth rather than the current distinguishing between sex assigned at birth {birth gender} verses a preferred gender regardless of birth assignment {gender identity}).

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