Some husbands struggle to control their anger. Then, the husband and wife might have disagreements about different family situations. Then, there is a breakdown in the communication. As this author keeps reminding the reader, you need to keep reminding yourselves; no marriage will ever be perfect. This is no fairy tale where everything works out just fine all the time. However, it will have a happy ending.
Proverbs 18:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 A brother offended is more unyielding than a fortified city,
and there are disputes like the bars of a fortress.
In looking at the historical setting of this verse, Max Anders tells us, “Conquering an opposing army in the open field was always easier than gaining a fortified city. In fact, one reason Joshua asked God to lengthen the day during the battle at Gibeon was to enable him to destroy the enemy armies before they could reach the safety of their home cities (Josh. 10:11). An invading army could try to climb the walls, demolish the walls or gates with a battering ram, build a ramp to the top, or dig tunnels underneath. If such efforts failed, the enemy would simply surround the city and wait for water and food supplies to run out. This, however, could take years. The Assyrians besieged Samaria for three years (2 Kgs. 17:5), and the Babylonians camped around Jerusalem for eighteen months (Jer. 52:4).”
This principle behind proverb is related to the marriage in that, over time, if you do not resolve the problems of marriage, these problems might be “like the bars of a fortress,” which block communication altogether. Therefore, you need to open the door of effective communication
Matthew 11:28-30 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Jesus’ Yoke Is Refreshing
28 “Come to me, all you who are laboring and loaded down, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Yes, if we are going to be an effective communicator, we must learn from Jesus. What do we learn from Jesus? First, Jesus is “gentle,” which is the English for the Greek word praus that is found “three times in Matthew and once in 1 Peter … means ‘gentle, humble, considerate, meek in the older favorable sense’ (BAGD).” In what sense was Jesus, “lowly in heart”? With his knowledge and understanding, as the Son of God, he could have taught in Jewish schools, having some of the greatest Jewish minds as his students. He could have taught the Jewish teachers themselves if he so desired.
However, Jesus chose to teach the lowliest of the Jewish world, from the seaside, fishermen. He lived and taught among the poor and the low in social position. It is a privilege to pattern ourselves after such a teacher as he was. This humility and lowliness of heart qualified him as the greatest teacher ever so it will qualify us, as he teaches us, to be teachers of others. When we are lowly in heart, following in the footsteps of Jesus, we too will refresh our wife. A husband who is gentle, humble, considerate, meek, will bring comfort to his wife. The wife with a receptive heart will find you refreshing, respecting you in your conversations all the more.
In Acts 20:19, it says that the Apostle Paul served the Lord “with all humility,” with “humble-mindedness” or “humility of mind.” The Greek (tapeinophrosune) literally reads “lowliness of mind.” It is derived from the words tapeinos, which means to “make low,” “lowly, “humble” and phren, “the mind.” Paul told the Philippians that they were to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility [“lowliness of mind”] count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3-4) Paul also told the Corinthians, “Let no one seek his own good but the good of the other.” (1 Cor. 10:24) This quality of “lowliness of mind” will stop you from assuming a superior attitude or tone when you speak to your wife.
Additionally, if you want to be effective in your communication, one must follow Paul’s counsel found at Colossians 4:6,
Colossians 4:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Certainly, patience and tact, which is skillfully expressing yourself when your wife’s feelings are involved, are two qualities that establish effective communication. When you communicate with your wife, your words must be in good taste. Good speech will keep lines of communication open, but unwise, foolish, and careless comments will close those lines of communication.
If you are prepared to talk to your wife you will not be anxious but will be relaxed, which will have a calming effect on your wife, too. However, allow your wife to do most of the talking, to get at the heart of their thinking and feelings. You can never understand your wife’s thinking because if you do not know what is going through her mind. For example, your wife could make a comment, and you could choose a phrase and give several minutes of feedback, which proves to be irrelevant to what she meant. It would have been better to ask, “What do you mean by …?” Once she explains herself, then you can offer your thoughts.
The characteristics of being gentle, humble, considerate, meek, modest, lowliness of mind, tactfulness and patience make the qualities of a good communicator. When you also have selfless love, you will become a great communicator.
Matthew 9:36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.
Mark 6:34 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
“Harassed is from a verb meaning to trouble, distress. Scattered is from a verb meaning to throw down. The past tense used here implies the thoroughness of their oppression and its persistent effect on the people. These people were completely and perpetually discouraged.” The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day did next to nothing in offering enough to make common people feel pleased or content in their spiritual hunger. Rather, they made their lives even more burdensome with all of their rules and regulations that they tacked on to the Mosaic Law. (Matt. 12:1, 2; 15:1-9; 23:4, 23) The religious leaders revealed their true heart condition when they said about those listening to Jesus, “this crowd who does not know the law is accursed!” (John 7:49) Jesus’ selfless love moved him to “find rest for their souls,” getting on the road to life. Today, you as the loving husband have the mind of Christ that is filled with love as well, and you must offer love to your wife in a selfless way, too.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 But we became gentle in the midst of you, as a nursing mother tenderly care for her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own souls, because you became beloved to us.
2:7. Instead, Paul and Silas chose to be gentle. There is no tenderness quite like a mother’s, and Paul dared to identify with maternal love and care. Greek writers used the term gentleness to describe those who dealt patiently and with a mild manner toward those who were difficult—obstinate children, unmanageable students, those who had not reached maturity and were experiencing the inconsistencies and struggles of development. Whatever difficulties the Thessalonians may have presented, Paul and Silas recognized that these new Christians were not yet “grown up.” So rather than dealing with these people in an authoritarian manner, they chose to be patient—like a mother.
It is a great lesson for the church today, because we have not always been patient with new or young believers. Sometimes we have cut a mold and demanded that they fit it—now. Instead of this approach, we need to see each individual’s need for help and encouragement as he or she struggles to conform to the image of Christ.
2:8. Here is a classic understanding of biblical love. To Paul, love is always a verb, it is doing. Feelings may accompany love, but they do not define it. Instead, the commitment of acting in the best interest of another opens the way for feelings: We loved you so much that we were delighted to share … our lives.
It is easier to teach theology than to love, easier to share lists than time. Paul gave not only the message of the gospel, but the example of it as well. He spent time. He shared joys and headaches. Parents and teachers, coaches and mentors, pastors and leaders know what it means to give part of their heart away to others. Love is not just a job. It is a way of life.
But note that Paul did share the gospel of God. He was balanced. He gave his life and love. He gave content as well. It is not enough to visit people in the hospital or prison, or to show compassion to the poor or those new in the faith. Somewhere, carefully and candidly, they must also hear the truth of the cross and what it means to trust and follow Christ.
Arguing whether the church should meet people’s physical needs or whether it should limit itself to preaching the gospel is like debating which wing of an airplane is more important. Both are essential!
The Apostle Paul started numerous congregations, one right after the other, from Antioch of Syria, throughout Asia, into Macedonia, down through Greece and Achaia. The apostle Paul was like a father to thousands of Christians. What made Paul such an effective evangelist? Was it his zeal for spreading the Good News? Yes! The above says that Paul was “affectionately desirous” of the new Thessalonian congregation. “Here is a classic understanding of biblical love. To Paul, love is always a verb, it is doing. Feelings may accompany love, but they do not define it. Instead, the commitment to acting in the best interest of [your wife] opens the way for feelings: We loved you so much that we were delighted to share … our lives.” The love Paul had for God, and his neighbor made him a successful evangelist.
If your wife repeatedly rejects your communication, this is a sign of poor communication skills. Have you done your best to be an effective communicator with your wife, when any opportunity presents itself? If you answered yes, and she still has felt troubled or hurt during your communication times, you might want to consider the qualities of Jesus and Paul in the above text. Do an isolated study of what those words mean. Then, start focusing on one at a time, seeing how you can use it in your daily life.
Four Steps to Solving Problems
- Do not just start talking about a major problem. Find a good day and time to discuss the issue. This will allow both of you to ponder your approach. You might want to set a regular time each week that is set aside to discuss family problems. Try to find that day and time where both are less stressed.
- Allow your wife to express her feeling and talk openly about the problem, while you respectfully listen. Keep in mind; you are not looking to win some battle between you and her.
- Then, once she has completely finished, you need to acknowledge what she has said, reiterating it, and letting her know you fully understand her feelings. Do not reuse her words when you repeat her sentiments back to her. Say it in your own words, telling her what she has said and how she feels. Never assume that you know what she means. Ask if she has said something ambiguous.
- Find common ground and agree on a solution. Marriage is a team, both needs to work together.
A husband and wife that fail to work together as a team will end up with a failed marriage. Then again, if you work together, there is no problem that cannot be resolved.
 Anders, Max. Holman Old Testament Commentary – Proverbs (p. 238). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.
 I.e. easy to bear
 Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992).
 The heart ([kardia]) is the core and center of man’s being, the mainspring of dispositions as well as of feelings and thoughts. It is the very hub of the wheel of man’s existence, the center from which all the spokes radiate (Prov. 4:23; cf. 1 Sam. 16:7). All of this also applies to Christ’s human nature.―William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 9, Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001).
 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr., vol. 2, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 314 (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996).
 Stuart K. Weber, vol. 1, Matthew, Holman New Testament Commentary, 130 (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000).
 Some MSS read babes
 Or cherishes
 Or lives
 Knute Larson, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, vol. 9, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 23–24.
 Knute Larson, vol. 9, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Holman New Testament Commentary, 24 (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000).