God's purpose for marriage involves two people becoming one flesh (Gen. 2:24). In the marriage relationship, communication is not optional - it's vital. Where it is lacking, the marriage relationship deteriorates and dies. Where it is healthy, the marriage relationship flourishes, and the two become one.

* No two people can effectively walk together, work together, or live together without a good communications system.

* Apart from your relations to God, He intends the marriage relationship to be the closest of all interpersonal relationships.

Ways to develop and maintain good marital communications:

1 Honesty is a must. If you really are to know one another, you must open up and reveal yourself to your spouse, sharing your feelings, hopes, fears, and desires.

2 Admit your part. When there are problems, each must be willing to admit that he or she is part of the problem.

3 Be willing to change.

4 In your anger do not sin. The sources of irritation between couples must be dealt with immediately, conclusively, and peacefully. Anger should be dealt with positively.

5 Don't lash out. The old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me, is emphatically untrue. Hateful, violent, vindictive, careless, bitter, cutting words hurled at others leaves them battered, beaten, weary, and hopeless.

6 Don't say never. Avoid the use of emotionally charged words. You don't really love me. You always do... You never do anything right. I don't care.

7 Take responsibility. You are accountable for your own emotions, words, actions, and reactions. Don't blame them on the other person. You got angry, lashed out, become depressed, etc.

8 Practice self-control. Resist the urge and tactic of retreating into silence or having a good pout. Also quit the manipulating crocodile tears.

9 Don't rehash the past. Don't go there unless it will help you solve your present problems. Deal with the issue at hand. At some other time clean up past differences.

10 Solve one problem at a time, and then move on to the next.

11 Focus on the positive instead of majoring on the negative.

12 Be honest and accurate. Express your thoughts and concerns to each other.

13 Really listen. Let the other person speak without interruption, giving him or her your undivided attention, and making sure you understand what the other person is saying or meaning. When one flies off the handle at you, the message may be, I've had a terrible day. Nobody respects me.

14 Show charity. Remember this is the person you love most and have committed to spend the rest of your life with. Have a charitable, forgiving and accepting spirit.