Part One: Proverbs on Communication
Since I just finished two blog series on money and sex, it’s only fair that I hit the third big issue that couples face and that’s communication.Money, sex and communication.The big three.If, as a couple, you’ve got these 3 figured out, you’ve hit a home run and are well on your way to having a winning marriage.As a therapist, given my druthers, I’d rather start with communication, because if you can communicate, maybe you can talk about money and sex!
It’s not all about communication.You need honesty, too.And integrity.A little insight and wisdom wouldn’t hurt.You can have all the communication skill in the world, but if you are lying it doesn’t matter.You may be very articulate about your situation and how you think it should be addressed, but if you have the insights of a dodo bird it ain’t gonna have a good outcome.
I was curious to find that the word “communication” doesn’t even occur in the Bible. That’s right, folks. Nada on that. The Bible says, instead,
In all your getting, get wisdom.
So, to start with, if you’ve mucked up your life by the decisions you’ve made to date prior to coming in and seeing me, certain mechanisms are in place (called consequences) that will continue their march until Judgment Day.Sure, sure, sure, God will forgive you if you are so inclined to desire it and you can stop your stupidity and even learn from your bad mistakes, but the consequences continue their march to the end of your parade.
It’s a lot easier to communicate if you aren’t living a profligate life.If you are living a shameful existence, you will have to hide it and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to cover your tracks and to hide the evidence and any communication you are doing then will be disingenuous, no matter how nicey-nice you are about it.
A little study on the word “fool” in Proverbs will give us some examples.If you’ve been a fool how are you going to communicate?Ha.That’ll be interesting.Well, ah, what’s a fool?In biblical terms it’s a person who has a total disregard for everything that God has said and does whatever he wants whenever he wants.In short, it’s all about him.
Careful now.When you read these sayings, don’t say to yourself, oh, that’s my husband, or, my wife needs to do this.No.The Bible wasn’t written for your spouse.It was written for you.YOU need to take these things to heart.Here are a few comments on some of the verses on a “fool” in Proverbs around the subject of communication.
Proverbs 1:22 “Fools hate knowledge” so you can bet, if they are told they are doing something wrong or hurtful, they are going to be mad about it. In another place it says, if you rebuke a fool, he will hate you. Great. Try communicating with a person like that. Fun. Keep in mind the “knowledge” referred to in this proverb is NOT everyday cultural knowledge like how many times Lindsay Lohan’s been arrested. No, it’s the knowledge of what God has said and God demands. A fool could care less. A fool doesn’t even believe that God said anything. Or maybe that God isn’t even there. Or if He is He hasn’t conveyed anything. It’s all a myth or made up or a sign of weakness or _____ (fill in your blank). This is a convenient way to tell yourself you can do whatever you want. It won’t matter. God won’t see. He’s not even there. Won’t you be fun communicating with when you just make up your own rules? And any one that challenges your Ten Commandments (Thou shalt not disagree with me….ever.), will be fit for the fire. And you accuse God of being unfair? Who are you to talk?
Proverbs 1:32 “The complacency of fools will destroy them.” Bring up an issue and they are completely indifferent. If you do this, this is a surefire way to train your spouse to despise you. It will drive everyone around you to distraction. What’s worse? Being upset or not caring one wit? I’ll give you a hint: I can do therapy with someone who’s angry and hurt. I can’t do therapy with someone who’s indifferent. When you start saying to yourself “I just don’t care anymore,” watch out. You’ve entered the land where you will destroy your family at your own hand. Indifference is the ultimate insult. The consummate last nail in the coffin. The penultimate lie to yourself that your marriage’s demise is someone else’s fault. It’s terribly comforting. To you. Your family burns and disintegrates and you don’t even care. Wipe your mouth and say you’ve done nothing wrong. You can tell yourself whatever you want.
Proverbs 10:8 “A chattering fool comes to ruin”. Just ‘cuz a person talks a lot, it doesn’t mean that what he is saying is worth communicating. Sometimes communication is like a diamond. It’s precious because there is not much of it around. Too much communication, too many words, and you will make those around you weary. Sometimes the best communication is to just shut up! Timing is everything. Note that the chattering fool comes to ruin. If you talk all the time, you are hurting yourself. You can bet your loved ones will have tuned you out. Listening is hard work. Anyone can talk.
Proverbs 10: 10 “The mouth of a fool invites ruin.” Nice guy. He opens his mouth and problems result. He can communicate, all right. Drivel. Spewing out words of hurt and insult. Putdowns and sarcasm. Words that cut. Words that divide. Words that pour salt on wounds. Or no words at all when something appropriate needs to be said. Something appropriate isn’t said. No comfort. No warmth. No tenderness. Communicate disgust. Communicate disdain. Completely cut them off. This way they can go crazy and you can point the finger at them ‘cuz you didn’t do anything, right? Hurt your loved ones. Let them know how much they’ve hurt you. Hurt back. Hurt back. Hurt back. You don’t feel love anymore, anyway. Right? That’s what you told me. Let your family self-destruct while you look on saying and doing things that seal your fate. Blame everyone else. Invite ruin. Make your bed with it.
Proverbs 10:18 “Whoever spreads slander is a fool.” Pity the person who lives in a community where this is a pastime. People can be pretty cruel. Right there in your own family, even. What are you doing “communicating” all that negative gruel about your “loved ones”? Pity the person related to you. Spare me the “loved ones” moniker. You can pretty much tell about someone’s heart by the amount of glee they get putting others down away from their hearing. If you are so “concerned” you should probably sit down with them and have a little chat. If you are too chicken to do that, you’d best keep your mouth shut about others’ faults. If you want to evaluate someone’s faults, turn the finger inward and analyze yourself.
Proverbs 10:23 “A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct.” Which, of course, will put his family and his very life at risk. That’ll be fun to communicate about. And don’t think you are innocent of this. You sit there and watch evil every night on your television or in the movies and revel in it and then you wonder why your mind is swimming in negativity and you are so angry and hurt all the time. Everyone on TV is always licking their wounds, why shouldn’t you? You are like the company you keep. If that’s how you spend your time, you won’t have many meaningful things to talk about.
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Try being married to a fool. You can’t say anything to him without him being mad. He’s right all the time. Good for him; bad for you. Careful. What if you are the same way? What a party the two of you will have! Both of you will insist you are right! You are both great communicators, right? Communicate yourselves all the way to hell. I marvel at couples like this. If you didn’t want your wife or husband’s opinion in your life, why did you ever get married? Isn’t the idea of marriage is that you don’t know everything and you need your spouse’s insight in your life? Wake up, People! Fools don’t make very good spouses.
Proverbs 12:16 “Fools show their arrogance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” This is the theme of reality shows. Get quick tempered and quick tongued and arrogant people in a small space and watch them rip each other to shreds. Great. If you watch that crap, what does that say about you? Stop it, already. It’s hard enough being generous in your spirit without the temptation to let everything bug you. Quick-tempered people make their family members miserable. It’s time to develop a little fortitude here. Not everybody even CARES about your feelings. And now you are hurt about that? Chill already. You’ll waste your life being an awesome communicator about how everybody is out to get you. And you’ll be mad about it. And hurt. And, by golly, you are gonna get your point across and they better listen. But you don’t have to listen. That’s ‘cuz you are right all the time.
Proverbs 12:23 “The heart of a fool blurts out folly.” There are just certain things you shouldn’t talk about. Really. Absolutely. You shouldn’t communicate EVERYTHING. And if every poisonous thought finds expression in your life, pity those within earshot of your buckshot. You’ve got a filthy mind. Or a mad one. Or a negative one. Now let’s make everyone else’s life miserable, too, while you are at it. Spread it around. That’s it. Now count your friends at the end of the day.
Proverbs 13:19 “Fools detest turning from folly.” Blunder along in your foolishness. And if your wife or husband happens to point it out to you, the inconsistency of it all, the hurtfulness and damage it’s done, yell at him at what a control freak he is. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. She’s purposely trying to point out your faults, right? You can do what you want. You are a big girl. Mommy said so. This is just who you are. You ain’t gonna change. You LOVE your little idol. It makes you feel all cushy inside. Just dare someone to try some communication techniques on you!
Proverbs 13:20 “A companion of fools suffers harm.” Your spouse questions your friends. You question your spouse’s wisdom. He’s a control freak. She’s a bitch. Either way, you are right and can justify anything and blunder along at our own peril. But you don’t care, ‘cuz you are a party animal! You just want to have fun and SOCIALIZE. Big deal if your 4 year old cries himself to sleep ‘cuz daddy is never there to pray with him at bedtime. Who cares if your husband’s questioning your judgment or your faithfulness or your integrity? He’s just a fuddy-duddy anyway and never wants to have any fun. This is just you.
Proverbs 14:3 “A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back.” Careful what you say. Your words might come back to bite you in the butt. This is another one of those warnings not to say everything you think and feel because not everything you think and feel is worth thinking and feeling. Sometimes your feelings and thoughts are pretty mean and nasty and selfish and hurtful and revengeful and they need to be corralled and roped off and bundled up and shipped off. The tongue is a fire. Wisdom will keep the fire in the fireplace, where it belongs. Foolishness will spread the fire around and burn everyone else in the process. You can’t take your words back. Even if you say you didn’t mean them. Then why did you say them? Even if you were drunk and don’t remember. Maybe next time you shouldn’t get drunk? Or you were angry, right? You wouldn’t have said it, if you weren’t angry? You’ve got it worked out that you can say whatever comes to your mind when you are angry? What a deal for you!
And you only.
….to be continued…