This video segment is one of six presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, finances, decision making, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. Summit members can pick up a copy of the notebook in the church office. For those outside the Summit family, you can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

GCM Communication Part 1 from Equip on Vimeo.

Plumb Lines: These are the “sticky” statements that capture the core messages of this chapter.

  • The vast majority of communication problems are listening problems, not expressing problems.
  • If you don’t know what to say, ask more questions.
  •  Healthy communication is a disposition of grace and humility before it is a skill.
  • What we hear often says as much about us as the person speaking.

Memorize: James 3:2-5 (ESV), “For we all stumble in many in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “We all stumble” – James is not making an excuse for sin, but putting an end to denial and blame-shifting.
  • “Perfect” – If our words reveal our hearts (Luke 6:45), then pure words would reveal a pure heart.
  • “Whole body” – Words mediate life. Learning healthy communication will bless your entire marriage.
  •  “Bit… rudder” – Our words will determine the direction of our lives.
  • “Small… great” – James is drawing our attention to how we tend to ignore the things of greatest significance.

“Authentic communication is much more than just talking. It is understanding and being understood (p. 148).” Dennis Rainey (editor) in Preparing for Marriage

“Words do not primarily express our culture or family upbringing or biochemistry, but our souls. When our words are unkind and ungrateful, no one else is to blame. Such words come from inside us (p. 137).” John Henderson in Catching Foxes

“If you minimize the heart struggle that both of you have carried into your marriage, here’s what will happen: you will tend to turn moments of ministry into moments of anger… This leads to the second thing that happens: the reason we turn moments of ministry into moments of anger is that we tend to personalize what is not personal (p. 24).” Paul Tripp in What Did You Expect?

“We are tempted to recast both Jesus and love in the image of our personal desires (p. 40)…I began to meditate on this paradox: Jesus loves people, and yet they’re disappointed in him (p. 42)… My duty is to love her, not to be perfect. In fact, sometimes loving her may well disappoint her… Sometimes we suffer in our marriages because we labor under false understandings of love built upon the foundations of our own desires and fears (p. 45).” Winston Smith in Marriage Matters

“The attitude of earning love is disastrous in marriages and leads to anger and insecurity. Spouses who believe they’ve earned or deserve love angrily demand it or toil anxiously to avoid using it (p. 48)… The principle captured in the phrase ‘knowledge puffs up, but love builds up’ (I Corinthians 8:1b) tells us that in a conflict, being right and doing right aren’t always the same thing (p. 158).” Winston Smith in Marriage Matters

“In all healthy relationships the well-being of the other person is important to us even when we’re mad, tired, or busy.” Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Relationship