We have done quite a bit of traveling lately, both for pleasure and work. Many times, along the interstate, we’ll notice things that seem out of the ordinary, at least to one of us. Sometimes the conversations will be, “Did you see that?” With the reply of, “No, what was it?” Describing what we’ve seen can go on for miles, and it can lead us down rabbit trails to other subjects. We wanted to share some of the things we’ve seen that left us scratching our heads and that led to some deep conversations.
Recently, while traveling north on Interstate 65, we both actually noticed a dump truck in the lane next to us. Across the back of the dump truck was written, “Amish Mafia.” We both looked at each other and questioned, “Do you know what that means?” Neither of us had a clue. Today, I decided to Google and see what this phrase means. To my surprise, I found out it was a very strange “reality” show. We don’t have a television or cable, so television shows that came out after about 1995 aren’t very familiar to us. We may have heard someone mention a TV show or caught a glimpse of one while visiting a relative who had a TV playing, but for the most part, we are clueless about shows less than 25 years old. I have to say that after reading the show’s description on Wikipedia, I’m fairly certain we haven’t missed anything important.
During the same recent trip, we stopped to eat, and while waiting at a stop light to get back on the road, I noticed a flyer attached to a pole. The beginning of a new conversation, “Did you see that?” With a reply of, “No, what was it?” The flyer was an advertisement for “Kitty Condos.” Neither of us had a clue what a Kitty Condo could be. The flyer had a website listed, so I jotted that down to check out later. The website had pictures with several designs for purchase. I wasn’t exactly sure how to describe them, but when I Googled, I found they are also called “Cat Trees.” They are pieces of wood, nailed together, and covered in carpet that a cat can climb and rest on what are termed as “couches.” We felt so informed.
One particular billboard stood out to me during this trip. The conversation about it started the same as usual, “Did you see that?” With a reply of, “No, what was it?” It was a billboard encouraging “Emergency Preparedness,” whether it be for flood, tornado, earthquake, etc… The slogan on the billboard is what caught my eye, “Don’t Wait. Communicate.” Being involved in marriage ministry, that phrase brought about lots of thoughts and a conversation about how that could apply to the marriage, husband/wife relationship. Here are some applications:
- Don’t wait until you are feeling extreme frustration about a given situation before you communicate with your spouse about whatever it may be (finances, children, intimacy, habits, household chores, etc…) Tell your spouse how you feel, don’t let things stew and boil over.
- If your spouse has done or said something that you feel is hurtful or insensitive, don’t wait, communicate with them how what they said or what they did made you feel. If you hold your feelings in, and let the wound fester, you are going to let bitterness and resentment begin to grow. Many times, we say and do things that aren’t meant to be hurtful, and many times, we perceive things differently than what the intention was.
- If you feel inspired to do something, be it in the context of ministry, your employment, or in business – communicate with your spouse about it. Inspiration without expression leads to depression. Don’t wait until you feel resentment and depression because you haven’t communicated with your spouse about the inspiration you’ve had and you haven’t acted upon it. Talk about your inspirations, hopes, and dreams. Share them with each other. The more you talk about them, the more you may see that what you feel inspired about, they may feel the same way. God can use your inspirations and those of your spouse to complement each other, and something more wonderful than you’ve ever thought can come through your joint efforts.
- On the flip-side, if you are feeling down, depressed, blue – don’t wait, communicate to your spouse how you are feeling. Most likely, they are already sensing that something is wrong, but they may not know how to approach the situation. Suffering and trying to deal with issues in isolation often makes you feel worse. Sometimes just having someone to talk with about what you are feeling is enough to help you put things in perspective and to begin to feel better. Spending time reading the Bible and praying together can do wonders for our moods. As a side note, after talking things through, if you still feel the burden of depression, contact your medical doctor. Sometimes there is a medical reason for how you feel.
- If you have sinned against your spouse, don’t wait until a wall of deception is built between you. Communicate and confess your sin to your spouse and to God. Your level of intimacy with each other, the effectiveness of your relationship in service to God, your level of joy and happiness – all depend on your openness and honesty with each other. Once you confess, repent – turn from the sin, forsake it. Work together to repair what has been broken. Read the Bible together, pray together, seek out Christian resources to help you in your journey back to oneness. Take the necessary steps to rebuild trust and intimacy. It’s a process that doesn’t happen in an instant, it takes time, effort, and perseverance, but it can be done, and the rewards are measureless.
These suggestions aren’t exhaustive. I’m sure you’ll think of more instances in which you need to improve your communication with your spouse. Be proactive. Don’t wait. Communicate.