From Facts to Feelings

Alienation from and between their children was the result of the deceptive practices of Isaac and Rebekah. Who was to blame for their communication fiasco? Looking at the story as a whole, we can conclude that Isaac failed to share his goals with his wife while Rebekah was not forthright with her husband.

When it came to their physical interaction, however, the Bible indicates they communicated very well. Midway in their marriage, Isaac and Rebekah moved for a time to Gerar where we get a glimpse of the physical passion they shared (Genesis 26:8). You may have heard the joke, “What’s the second thing your military husband takes off when he comes in from field duty? His rucksack.” Your husband might be quick to communicate physically, but it may take more time to share his feelings.

The goal for healthy marriage communication is to complete the journey from facts to feelings. The most basic level of communication is sharing facts and ideas. Think small talk. This is not deep—on the order of “How was your day?”—but such communication connects you to one another as you inform each other about life outside of your relationship.

Sharing facts can only take you so far; you must be willing to share thoughts and ideas. This level of communication becomes more risky and could lead to disagreement and judgment. Trust grows as a couple is willing to hear opinions, discuss differences, and remain open to hearing another view.

The most effective communication is to be able to share feelings and needs. Communication on this level opens the door to understanding. Marriage experts Gary and Barbara Rosberg compare this to exploring a cave “with a vast labyrinth of underground caverns someone could spend a lifetime exploring … every step, every turn in the labyrinth, every new day of exploration yields surprises and challenges too good to miss.” The journey to deep, heartfelt communication will not be easy, but the discoveries will be worth the effort.

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