Effective Communication in Marriage – Part II
In our last session we looked at several principles of effective communication. In Ephesians 4:25-32 we learn that God is concerned with how we speak. He wants us to speak honestly, regularly, purposefully, and carefully.
Effective communication does not only involve how we should speak to one another. It also involves the art of listening.
In this session we will discuss the listening aspect of effective communication. There are three questions we will consider:
Question #1 Why is good listening so important, and why should we be concerned about being good listeners?
Question #2 What is good listening, and what does it involve?
Question #3 How can good listening skills be developed?
- Question #1 Why is good listening so important, and why should we be concerned about being good listeners?
- God is a good listener – Our Example
- Concerning God the Father, 1 Peter 3:12 says, “His ears attend to our prayers”
“This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6
- Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ
“… all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
- Concerning the Holy Spirit
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13
- God has told us to be good listeners – Our Command
- To listen to God
Isaiah 55:1-3 – for salvation
Mark 9:7 – for obedience
John 10:27 – for relationship
- To listen to each other
We are to be quick to HEAR, slow to SPEAK, and slow to ANGER.
- Good listening is a means of receiving grace and help.
- From God
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
- From others
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
- Good listening is a way of promoting good relationships.
In Psalm 116:1 the writer says, “I love the Lord …” He then goes on to give his reason. He could have given many reasons, but here he says it is because the Lord hears his voice.
Proverbs 23:22 says, “Listen to your father who begot you and don’t despise your mother when she is old.” In this verse, listening is the opposite of despising. If you don’t listen, you are showing contempt, and are demeaning the person who is speaking.
- Good listening is a way of serving other people.
As Christians we are called to serve others.
“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
Job 21:1-2 How does Job say we ought to console others in times of suffering?
- Question #2 What is good listening, and what does it involve?
- Good listening involves listening with your whole person
“Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding;” Proverbs 2:2
We are to listen with your inner being = mind, emotions, will (= the heart!)
Proverbs 18:15 says, “The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
- Good listening requires discipline and self-control
- To actually do it
- Listening doesn’t just happen automatically or naturally
- James 1:19 = a command. Therefore you must choose to do it.
- Many of the Proverbs about listening are in command form
- Proverbs 2:2
ii Proverbs 5:1
iii Proverbs 22:17
iv Proverbs 19:20
- While doing it
- You must discipline your mind (Proverbs 18:15)
“The human mind can listen 5 times as fast as someone can speak. Therefore you must guard against the tendency for your mind to wander.
- You must retrain your emotions. Proverbs 29:11 says fools lose their temper. A wise person will have self-control. People often say offensive and hurtful things. Self control is required to listen and not get angry.
- Good listening involves an eagerness or desire to hear
- James 1:19 (again) “Be quick to hear.” The word quick means, “Swift.”
- Back to Proverbs … Prov. 8:34 says the person who “Listens” to wisdom is blessed.
- Good listening involves humility
- Philippians 2:3-4
- The book of Proverbs is filled with many verses that emphasize the difference between pride and humility in reference to listening
- Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes … the wise man listens to counsel … the proud say they don’t need to listen to anyone
- Proverbs 12:23 – The prudent man conceals … fools are quick to proclaim.
- Proverbs 15:31 – those whose ears listen … live among the wise … he who neglects discipline despises himself … (Pride gets upset … tunes others out)
III. Question #3 How can good listening skills be developed?
- Recognize the importance of being a good listener.
- Recognize and acknowledge your personal need for change – Phil. 3:13
- Identify and acknowledge your specific failures in this area and ask God to help you be a good listener (1 John 1:9).
- Make becoming a better listener a matter of prayer (James 4:2b)
- Follow the directives of Hebrews 5:14 and enter into training.
Here are some tips:
#1 Memorize verses about listening
#2 Regularly review and evaluate your listening skills
#3 Ask others for help (Hebrews 3:13)
#4 Learn to reflect and clarify what others say to you. Ask questions; don’t assume you understand and know what is on their mind (Proverbs 25:8).
* Recognize that learning to listen will take time; be patient with one another!