The Dancing Puritan

Friday, January 18, 2013

Someone to Talk To (Pt. 1): Thoughts on Marriage

Your spouse should be your best friend and wisest counselor. It is often foolish to act without seeking their counsel.

Yesterday I spoke with a gentleman that is training for ministry. I was pleased to discover that he is interested in building a great library. It was also encouraging to learn that he is in a church where the gospel is proclaimed each Lord's Day. Something else stuck me about his training. He spends significant time with godly men in various settings, just talking. Regular conversation with those men has been invaluable to him.

I am not sure that we really talk, listen and communicate very often. Some of us have more virtual conversations than we do face-to-face communication. It is rare that we hear the stories of others. Even when people are in the same room their heads are often pointed downwards. Someone told me recently of a married couple that they noticed at a restaurant. The couple seldom looked up from their phones. They surfed the net, checked their email, sent texts to friends but there was little talk between the two actual people sitting at the table. It was suggested that perhaps they were texting one another.  Looking down has become the posture of our culture.

You see the posture of our culture on the streets, in the shopping malls, at restaurants, at work and at home. Texting, checking email and surfing the web occupies the attention of some people even at church. Something is very wrong.

Looking down may be the posture of our culture, but should it be? Is it the posture of your marriage?  Should we be concerned when we see children and teenagers constantly holding a phone and looking down? Will they become like the couple at the restaurant?  Will they occupy the same room with their spouse but have little in the way of face-to face-communication? Are they learning their posture from you?

Take a quick look at your marriage?  How often are you looking down at a gadget? How many times do you really need to check your email each day? How many times do you need to tell us how you feel via your posts on Facebook? How often do you really need to text?

This is not designed to be an anti-technology post. How could it be? I am typing this blog on a MacBook Pro. My phone is at my side. I want to be accessible to my wife, children, church and various other jobs that I am engaged in. Technology plays an important role in how I make a living and keep in touch with my family. But technology must not become an idol, an indispensable god without which I can't happily function.

What about your marriage?  Even if you have no phones, computers or other gadgets to distract you--do you really communicate with your spouse? You need heart-to-heart, face-to-face, thoughtful communication.

We need intimate conversation. God made us to know and to be known. Without wise communication we will wander from the path. Without meaningful conversation we will "go with our gut" way too often.

We see in God the essence of perfect communication. He spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1). He sent his Son---the Word (John 1:1) and He gave us the 66 books of the Bible, which reveal his character and the way of salvation. God has spoken (Hebrews 1:1-5).

Look for ways to trim back the time that you spend with technology and to increase the face-to-face communication with your spouse. Don't bring the phone to the dinner table?  Leave it somewhere during family worship time. Ask your spouse about their interests, their dreams, their views and their struggles. Ask them for counsel. Listen to them.  Though they may not know much about the specifics of engineering, mechanics or whatever you do, they will give you wise counsel. They will be used by God to keep you from many troubles and they will provide for you someone to talk to. After all, marriage is having someone to talk to.