Communication Breakdown? Lessons from the Mirror

So why did the Savage and the Witch (read my previous post if you don’t know what I’m talking about) have such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? According to Fox News Magazine, the #1 marriage problem is poor communication. Really? I never watch Fox News or anything related to Fox, but this article came up in my internet search. The article speaks of a survey done by the ‘digital leader in love and relationships’ – YourTango.com. Please don’t check them out. They don’t have a clue about love. And I say phooey to the Fox, who, by the way, was the animal least trustworthy in fairy tales. The problem goes much deeper than communication.

Was communication the not-so-fictional fairy tale couple’s problem? Let’s get to the heart of the matter.

good-and-bad-heart-vector-illustration_M1eVR0ud18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.  – Matt. 15:18

Therefore, the problem is not communication itself, but the heart – a heart full of love for self.

The idolatry of SELF. It’s a cancer in marriages and society in general. When we put our own needs and desires above those of our spouse, everything crumbles. Including communication. So you see, it’s not more lip-flapping that’s needed. It’s not even communication skills. One could be a fabulous communicator but only be communicating narcissistic hot air ala Savage, or bellowing out bossy instructions like the Witch. Our ugly insides spew out through the mouth. We hurt the one we’re closest to – our spouse. They get the brunt of all our irritation, even when we’re upset with ourselves we take it out on them. Here is more of the lesson to be learned from that fairy tale.

Matthew Henry says:

“The use we are to make of God’s word may be learnt from its being compared to a glass, in which a man may behold his natural face. As a looking-glass shows us the spots and defilements upon our faces, that they may be remedied and washed off, so the word of God shows us our sins, that we may repent of them and get them pardoned; it shows us what is amiss, that it may be amended. There are glasses that will flatter people; but that which is truly the word of God is no flattering glass. If you flatter yourselves, it is your own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before you the corruption of your nature, the disorders of your hearts and lives; it will tell you plainly what you are.”

Communication flows from our hearts. We get defensive. We want glory for ourselves. We think we’re great. The Apostle Paul says:

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. — Romans 12:3

Paul Tripp says:

“Instead of using the mirror of God’s Word to keep our judgment sober, we see an aggrandized version of who the Bible says we actually are.”

I came across Tripp’s article after I wrote the fairy tale. It’s like the Lord is affirming these thoughts and teaching me further. Pretty amazing! Paul Tripp further explains:

“Do you examine your character daily by humbly placing your heart before the one mirror you can trust, the mirror of the Word of God? Or have you fallen into the habit of looking into the distorted mirrors of knowledge, experience, success and recognition?

I understand why it’s tempting to run to these mirrors instead of to Scripture. These mirrors will give you a partisan view of your character and a false sense of approval, while Scripture will expose your weaknesses, flaws and failures. But remember this – the Cross of Christ liberates you from fear of that exposure, because the grace of the Cross has made provision for everything the Bible reveals about you.”

Amen! Please read Paul Tripp’s More Highly than You Ought.

IMG_1178A good question to ask your spouse is “do you like your life with me?” Ask it humbly and accept any criticism gracefully. No lip-flapping. Just listen.

Life is a series of moments. Most of them are not spectacular but rather ordinary. There are sad moments, busy moments, happy moments. In What Did You Expect? (a highly recommended read) Paul Tripp says:

“you must have a little-moment approach to your marriage…the quality and character of our life is forged in little moments.”

Why create horrible moments? Instead create an atmosphere of love. Not fake, but unfeigned, with the help of the Holy Spirit. I must constantly drink from that river for more grace so that I might be tenderhearted toward my husband.

Guard your heart and your tongue. Look to the mirror of the word of God every day.

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