Introduction to Active Christian Communications, A 12-hour marriage enrichment curriculum for the Military and other groups.
“In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
From the beginning, communication with people has been at the top of God’s agenda. According to orthodox Christian understanding of the Trinity, God the Father has eternally been in communication with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God is three in one, with relationship built into God’s very nature. Scripture calls Christ the “Word.” That is to say, Christ is God’s unique, expressed message to us. We are the high point of God’s creation, God’s beloved of unimaginable worth. If any person wants to know what God thinks or feels, all he or she needs to do is look to Jesus. And the message is clear: “I love you. I forgive you. And I want you to be reconciled to me.” Every physical thing God has created is part of that message to us. The material universe as vast, complex and infinitely beautiful as it is, is not an end in itself, but rather part of the divine communication process.
In particular, that message lives within the hearts of Christians and within the framework of Christian marriage. Our purpose in life and in marriage is to love God with complete dedication and to “hold forth the word of life” to those closest to us. Our words, or our message displayed by actions (often louder than words), need to be for the building up of our mate and our marriage. Here, too, material things should not be the end in themselves, but a means toward communicating goodness and security to our mate. Beyond that, material goods should benefit extended family or society as we encounter it.
“But,” a person might say, “I’m not the communicative type.” Wrong. We are all communicating something. We are either expressing our God-ordained love for our spouse, or else something from a less noble part of our being. For Christian couples, good communication means honesty. We are to “speak the truth in love.” That may be very difficult at times – especially when that truth involves a shortcoming of our own or our mate’s. Though we have the ability to forgive, forgiveness is not a pleasant process. We are prone to make mistakes, and even more prone to cover them (ask Adam and Eve). It is even dangerous to assume that our spouse knows our pet peeves. For the sake of a healthy marriage, it is far better to communicate our wants and desires than to remain in a constant struggle to forgive. Even then we must be aware of our core motives. Do we want our needs met so that we may better meet the needs of our family, or are we making ourselves an end in ourselves? Do we point to our partner’s foibles and faults because we desire their growth as a human being or a child of God, or do we simply want to make our life more convenient and superficially attractive? God’s motive toward us is love for our ultimate well-being. We must diligently and regularly search our hearts to make sure that love is our motive in marriage as well.
Okay, so this is starting to get complicated. There is good news, though. God wants you to succeed! And, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The Lord and all the angels in heaven must celebrate when we take practical steps toward understanding each other better. “Hallelujah,” could be the heavenly refrain, “they’re finally starting to get it! Let’s send them all the help and resources they need to get the job done!” In a sense, everything we need to communicate successfully has already been given to us in Jesus Christ who is the Person of the Word, and in the written Word, the Bible. But the testimony of other Christians who have experienced the successes and pitfalls of communication in marriage, along with the gifted analysis of those called by God as teachers and instructors in this area can be an indispensable help as well. Rest assured, all the power of Heaven is on your side as you endeavor to strengthen your marriage in the Lord. It is the prayer of the authors that this program will play a helpful part. -Mike Simpson