What is your strategy for communicating with important people in a way that you never have to say you’re sorry?
I have been writing a lot for lessons and sermons lately, so original content for this page has been a little low. But, if it can be spoken, it can be printed. So here is one of the more significant presentations I have made over the past week. This was done for our church’s marriage and relationship workshop in Wednesdays in August.
“Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”
1 Timothy 5:1-2 KJV
“Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”
1 Timothy 5:1-2 NLT
“Do not sharply reprimand an older man, but appeal to him as [you would to] a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters, in all purity [being careful to maintain appropriate relationships].”
1 TIMOTHY 5:1-2 AMP
“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices. Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon. You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.”
Song of Songs 4:9-12 NLT
In the KJV, the word “treasure” in Song of Solomon chapter 4 is translated “sister.”
God has put us in a familial relationship with one another in the kingdom of God.
If you skip “sister” and go straight to “spouse,” then you have sacrificed a lot of depth and entered a relationship you have not properly developed.
The end result would be a childish relationship, an immature relationship, where certain needs have not been met, or have even been sacrificed for the sake of more pressing wants.
The consequences of skipping key developmental tasks are:
- You become stuck at the stage at which development became interrupted
- You have to return to that stage and learn the tasks that you would have learned in order to move forward in your life and relationship.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:15-21 NLT
Following are the famous verses on how wives are to submit to their husbands, and husbands are to give their lives for their wives, as Christ did for the Church. These separated forms of submission are based on developing the submission outline in verses 15-21:
DON’T be foolish. DON’T act thoughtlessly. DON’T be drunk.
But, DO be filled with the Spirit, DO sing and speak of spiritual things, DO give thanks, and DO submit one to another. Skipping steps in spiritual development will have consequences for the married life.
In a Jenga match- which piece made the tower fall?
The last piece was the trigger, or last straw, or precipitant.
But the first piece that was pulled is just as much to blame, because it led to the next piece, and the next, and the next. And in an effort to WIN, each person in the couple was responsible for bringing down the tower.
As the blocks stacked up (unresolved problems, unaddressed issues, resentment, danger), the base of the relationship became weaker.
When I titled this session “How to Communicate Without Ever Having to Say I’m Sorry,” I caused a little confusion. I’m not referring to never having to apologize. In some cases, the earlier you say I’m Sorry, the better. I’m not addressing the problem, whatever that problem is.
I’m addressing the problem behind the problem. The problem behind the problem is how we don’t communicate about what’s bothering us. Or we communicate too aggressively. Or passive-aggressively. Or hyperbolically.
It isn’t a matter of these things happening once. It is a pattern of behavior that leads to the final straw. It isn’t about the pile of laundry that’s left lying in the floor. It’s about the pile that’s left lying in the floor again. It’s about the feeling that says, “I’m unappreciated.” And if it was only the laundry, it may not be so bad, but the problem is also that there are other signs you’re being unappreciative that find their outlet in the laundry argument- “Why do you ALWAYS leave your dirty laundry in the floor?” Or the more common passive-aggressive or silent treatment.
The problem behind the problem is you won’t say you feel unappreciated.
The problem behind the problem is that you may erupt.
The problem behind the problem is that you might withdraw or withhold.
The problem behind the problem is that any of these reactions might be an act of manipulation. You will never get a change in behavior through manipulation.
Any of these malignant modes of communication will eventually lead to you saying, “I’m sorry,” if you want to save or maintain the health of your relationship. That means saying I’m sorry on top of whatever you may actually need to apologize for. And if you were not in the wrong to begin with, you will be in the wrong after communicating in one of these ways. Two wrongs do not make a right.
No one just snaps and kills someone. The victim may be random, but the violence is not. How often is your spouse your victim? Is he or she really the problem? And if so, did you just handle it correctly? In other words, without having to say your sorry?
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Luke 6:45 KJV