Good communication is essential to a healthy marriage. In good, positive communication, timing can be everything. When your husband comes in angry at the world and particularly at his boss, it’s probably not the best time to point out his boss’ positive qualities or how the boss is just making the decisions that are best for the company. When your wife just had a fight with her mother, it might not be the best time to remind her how much she and her mother are alike.
The exact same message can be received positively in certain circumstances and negatively in others. Before you speak, weigh the effect your words will have given the situation. Often you can say the same thing at another time and receive a totally different reaction. Timing is everything.
Now, please understand that saying “timing is everything” is not carte blanche permission for one spouse to say anything he or she wants to say, and the other spouse to just have to sit quietly and take it. We all have times of stress, and we all have times when we need to blow off some steam. It is important to know that our mate is a safe place for us to do that. But good timing is NEVER an excuse for dishing out abusive speech at your spouse or tolerating abusive speech from your spouse. We must do all we can to maintain the mind of Christ and the honoring of our spouses, regardless of the circumstances. Yes, hurtful remarks can (and should) be forgiven, but they make an impact. Words spoken in anger cannot be unspoken.
Also, good timing in communication is NOT an excuse to not talk about things that need to be discussed. Perpetually burying something that needs to be addressed because “the time just isn’t right” is not healthy communication and does not lead to a healthy relationship. Eventually, things might have to be said that are not pleasant or easy to hear. Good timing certainly is not an excuse to gloss over those things. But when you do proceed, carefully consider a few things. What is your emotional state when you are speaking? What is your spouse’s emotional state? Are you seeking a holiness that advances the good of the relationship, or a self-centered personal happiness that doesn’t move you and your mate closer to God?
Even at its best, communication is a difficult process. But if you consider the timing of your conversations, you can often avoid saying things that will negatively affect your spouse. In good communication, so very often, timing is everything. Remember the words of the proverbist, “Saying the right thing at the right time is like a golden apple in a silver setting.” (Proverbs 25:11 ERV)
On a side note, please pause for a moment now and say a prayer for our marriage retreat coming up this weekend. We believe God will do powerful things for his Kingdom and for the good of the couples going. We continually solicit your prayers as we move toward and through this event.