Friday, February 22, 2013

The Keys

It's long been said that communication is key to a healthy relationship.

Often, we hear couples complain that they don't communicate well. On the heels of a fight, one or the other of the couple will sigh and say, "we just don't know how to communicate..."

Is this really the problem, though?
Is that really our trouble?
Are we really struggling that much to make our thoughts known?

I once had a friend who corrected that sentiment. He said, "Oh, no. I think most of the time we communicate too well. We communicate too much. We say things we shouldn't, things that aren't necessary and things that aren't helpful. I think this is not an issue of learning to communicate, but learning to shut up."

Perhaps it would be better to say that there are multiple keys to a healthy relationship. One of them happens to be communication. However, communication is merely the conveying of ideas. This can be done foolishly, hurtfully, without consideration or discretion.  I don't think the communication key works properly unless coupled with the wisdom key, or the prudence key, or the consideration key. These keys help to supplement or temper the communication key (when writing one should avoid mixed metaphors). Without them, the door to your relationship may be thrown wide open and left vulnerable to monstrous attackers - bitterness, anger, resentment, pride, scorn, sarcasm - the list goes on.

In this age of instant accessibility, we often forget the age-old adage that "absence makes the heart grow fonder." We buy into the belief that we need to talk it out now. So we chat, tap, call, type and tweet until we're blue in the beak (pop culture references help make your writing hip and relevant). There are times, when what is actually most needed is a bit of silence. Some time to cool down.

Proverbs 10:19 says "Where words are many, sin is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."

The early church fathers describe the heart as a furnace and the mouth as its door. When we keep the door closed and allow for proper ventilation, the fire inside burns hot and bright. Then when we open the door to speak, our words are potent, providing warmth and power to those who hear them. However, when the door to the furnace is often flung wide, the fire burns away, the cold from outside dulls the heat from the fire, causing our words to be useless chatter. 

If communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Perhaps sometimes, we need to use the key to lock the door.

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