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This topic is adapted from the Christian Marriage Teaching – Art of Marriage YouTube channel.

The families we grow up in teach us more than we realize. Our family culture shapes our expectations of marriage, communication, conflict and even the roles that husbands and wives play. Here’s the problem with this; often times our families teach us the wrong stuff.

[Related Series: How to Keep Talking]

Identify What Your Family Taught You Growing up

Take time to identify what you learned from your family. Was conflict something to avoid because it only led to yelling and screaming? Did people have the freedom to share their true feelings or were you encouraged to shove it under the rug? Did your parents show affection and enjoy spending time together? These are all good questions to help us to figure out who we are and what are expectations are for our own marriage. But, the work doesn’t stop there. Once we identify what has influenced us, we need to fight against repeating the unhealthy patterns with our spouse.

Deuteronomy 24:16 Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.

Don’t Resist the Hard Work of Communication

Communication will either make or break a marriage. We need to avoid repeating the unhealthy patterns from our families. We need to get comfortable with honest, open conversation where we can express our true feelings and so can our spouse. This will help us to avoid the silly outbursts that derail us from talking about the real issues. Working at being good communicators will save us from more conflict in the future, even though avoiding it may seem more appealing.

James 1:19-20 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

[Related: Addressing Anger]

[Related: How to Prevent Arguments]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Describe what communication and conflict looked like in your family growing up. How have those dynamics influenced you in your marriage?
  4. Read Deuteronomy 24:16. What do you think this verse is saying? Have you used your upbringing as an excuse for how you act in your marriage?
  5. Describe a typical argument with your spouse. What usually derails you from having a productive conversation?
  6. Read James 1:19-20. Identify the helpful tips in these verses. How can they help you in your next conversation?
  7. What can you both work on to avoid the unhealthy patterns from continuing?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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