Ep. 114 How to Fix Your Communication Problems

Shows Main Idea – Lucia and I spent the first five years of our marriage never owning or confessing personal sin. And there was no asking for and granting forgiveness. Needless to say, we had communication problems. In this podcast, I’m going to walk you through what we did to change our relationship with each other.

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Show Notes

If you want a detailed breakdown regarding communication, it’s critical you read these three articles in the order that they are linked here.

Imaging God Through Community – You cannot understand a person until you walk a mile in their shoes. Adam could not “walk a mile in the Lord’s shoes” because he had no person like him to walk in similar paths. Without Eve, Adam’s life would have a dead-end street feel to it.

Your life would be the same if you were not communing within a community. God, the original community, made Adam in His image. For Adam to image the Lord, he needed someone like him. He needed a community.

First Communication Problems – In Genesis chapter three we are introduced to sin through a walking, talking, stalking serpent. You know the story. Adam and Eve chose to sin, and from that point forward every person born from them was selfish (Romans 5:12).

The love Adam was supposed to give to Eve turned onto himself. Eve reciprocated with a similar kind of self-centered love. Rather than seeing the other person as an opportunity to image God through others-centered loving, our first two parents became self-serving.

Reclaiming Community – The purest form of community is the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are perfect koinonia. There is nothing more refined, more exquisite, and more profound than the Father, Son, and Spirit.

If you want to enjoy the most perfect human relationship possible, the Trinity has to be part of that relationship. Any human relationship without God is less than what it could be or should be.

That is why non-Christians cannot have true koinonia. The Spirit will not inhabit the natural person (1 Corinthians 2:14). Paul hinted at this in Philippians 2:1 when he talked about participation (koinonia) in the Spirit.

Biblical fellowship Defined – Participation in the Spirit or community—means the sharing with another individual your deepest and richest relationship, which is your relationship with God. This sharing means both the positive and negative things about your life.

  1. Are you able to share the positive and negative things about you with your spouse? Why or why not?
  2. Though you do not share everything about yourself during the early stages of a relationship, are you steadily progressing into deeper and more transparent communication? If not, why not?

Breaking Down the Graphic

  1. Each person has a relationship with God.
  2. There are things they are doing well and things that need to change.
  3. Biblical koinonia is when both individuals are able to share both sides of their individualized relationships with God with each other.
  4. Many relationships are not mature enough to talk about their individual weaknesses, which is why their communication is shallow or nonexistent.
  5. Warning: If both spouses are not committed to biblical koinonia, you won’t be able to have it because the non-committed spouse is not trustworthy, humble, and able to steward the deeper things about your life.

Human Koinonia – Being married and being a Christian does not automatically mean you will connect and relate to your spouse at the deepest part of your personal experience, which is your intimate knowledge of and experience with God.

You could go to church for years and never enjoy biblical fellowship with your spouse or any other person. Though you have to be a Christian to experience this kind of community, being a Christian does not automatically mean you have it.

Koinonia Hindrances – The most significant hindrance to koinonia is that individuals do not trust each other to handle the real truth about their lives. So, what do we do? We do not go there with them. I remember in the early part of our marriage how Lucia would share certain things with her friends—things she had not shared with me.

  1. Are you mature enough to steward some of the deeper truths about your spouse?
  2. Do you provide a “context of grace” that makes it easier for your spouse to share with you?

To fully release your vulnerable and intimate soul to another person, you must know the person is trustworthy and will lovingly steward all of your inner truth. This quality in a marriage is one of the most crucial leadership requirements for a husband to lead his wife well.

I had not created an environment of grace in our marriage. We were physically intimate. We loved each other. We continued to do a lot of fun things together, but there was a “no trespassing” sign on her heart, and I was the one who put it there.

Steps to Koinonia – If you want to bring change to communication problems, there are three essential things you must do.

  1. Own your part in the problems. Identify the things about you that need to change.
  2. Confess, seek forgiveness, begin walking out repentance. Ask the other person to forgive you for those things. (I’m assuming the other person is mature and wants to change too.)
  3. Practice koinonia. Start practicing koinonia: communication, participation, fellowship.

Koinonia Questions – If you both have a change of heart, here are a few biblical fellowship ideas that will aid you in sharing your thoughts about yourself while drawing your spouse out to provide input.

  1. Talk to your spouse about an area of your life where you regularly fail and cannot gain victory.
  2. Share one way you have failed your spouse. Seek forgiveness, and ask how you can more effectively serve your spouse.
  3. What is a fear you have? Share that fear with your spouse.
  4. Ask your spouse to give their perspective on one of your blind spots—a thing you may not be able to see. Draw out your spouse, appealing for help so you may see what you cannot see.
  5. Ask your spouse if she (or he) feels like you are for her (Romans 8:31). Draw her out by using specifics.

More Questions – This second set of questions are the ones Lucia and I regularly ask each other. They always get the ball rolling conversationally as we transparently share our experience with God—the good and the bad of it–with each other.

  1. What is the Lord doing in your life?
  2. What has the Lord taught you lately?
  3. How have you applied what He taught you to your life?
  4. Will you help me in this “particular” area of temptation in my life?
  5. What have you read or heard that is helping you in your sanctification?
  6. How is the grace of God working in a particular area of sin?
  7. What specific areas are you struggling?
  8. How can I serve you in a particular area of your sanctification?
  9. What are some ways in which you are leading your friends?
  10. How are you applying the sermon from this past Sunday?
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