We have a wonderful Christian radio station in our area. Well, it's wonderful if you can hear it. A lot of people can. But I just talked with a friend who lives another direction who says she just can't pick up that station where she is. But then I've met people who live in a part of the area where the station has a strong signal - and they've never heard it either. They have never turned to that frequency. Important information is being communicated over that station - actually, eternally important information. But a lot of people are missing it. Some because the transmitter isn't transmitting their direction. And others because their receiver isn't tuned into that frequency!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "The Receiver And The Transmitter Of Love."
For radio communication to take place, the transmitter has to be beamed your direction - and you have to have your receiver tuned to receive it. Okay. Actually, marriage works the same way. Communication usually breaks down because of a problem with the way things are being transmitted, or the way they are being received.
A recent article in the Journal of Marriage and the Family basically reached that conclusion. It was the result of a study of married couples over a period of years - and ways to predict marital success and failure. One newspaper report quoted a lead researcher as saying this, "We found that only those newlywed men who are accepting of influence from their wives are ending up in happy, stable marriages." He went on to say that the autocrats who failed to listen to their wives' complaints, greeting them with stonewalling, contempt, and belligerence, were doomed from the beginning.
Marriages get in trouble when the husband's receiver is not tuned to the messages his wife is trying to transmit. He'll either not tune to her frequency or he just shuts it off when he doesn't like or doesn't care about what he's hearing. This researcher goes on to say, "If you want to change marriages, you have to talk about the 'emotionally intelligent' husband. Some men are really good at accepting a wife's influence, at finding something reasonable in a partner's complaint to agree with."
Now some wife is listening right now and she's saying, "Yeah! Yeah! Tell the old boy!" Well, the study doesn't let wives completely off the hook. The report says, "Women who couched their complaints in a gentle, soothing, perhaps even humorous approach to the husband were more likely to have happy marriages than those who were more belligerent." So, the transmitter has something to do with marital happiness, too! A wise woman will not just blast her message at top volume, thus causing the listener to turn it off. She will pick the right time and she'll say it gently and non-accusingly.
Now, God has been saying this for 2,000 years. Our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Peter 3:7. First, the receiver. "Husbands...be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect." I can think of no greater way for a husband to show respect to his wife than to listen to her, to be open to her input, to value her opinions, to hear her heart - not just her words.
Then, 1 Peter 3:4, addressed to wives - to the transmitter. "Your beauty should be...that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." There's that gentleness that communicates in such a way that a man doesn't feel attacked.
That marriage study summarized their findings this way - "Men have to be more accepting of a woman's position, and women have to be more gentle in starting up discussions." A receiver tuned to his woman's frequency - a transmitter sending messages with gentleness, clarity, and sensitivity in the direction of her man. It takes both to make a marriage what God designed it to be.