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Complementariness in marriage requires GOOD COMMUNICATION

Complementariness in marriage (which is not competitiveness in conflict) requires GOOD COMMUNICATION.
Communication is when we *express ourselves* with a combination of our *motive, mood, gesture* (company, attention, touch, eye, face) and *words* (message, tone, pitch). What is often forgotten in communication is CONTEXT of communication RELATIONSHIP. When there is communication exchange, *shared cognisance of the contextual milieu and contextual standing of each communicating party is important for smooth flow of feelings, information and opinions.*

In the communication relationship, there is for instance, need to take cognisance of *contextual standing* of instructor-learner, parent-children, husband-wife, elder-younger, leader-follower, teacher-student, brother-sister, pally-pally, broadcaster-audience, proposer-opposer, upload-download, suggestion-instruction, transmission-reception, inquiry-directive, etc, which should determine the mind-set and the role of each communicating party. Also, *contextual milieu* which affects its order and protocol whether to be amorous, palliative, eulogistic, interrogative, competitive, suggestive, instructive, expressive, educative, correction, directive, rebuke, etc. Dialogue easily turn into dispute and conversation into contention when each communicating party has different perspectives of each other’s context and standing.

Most men desire that their wives would communicate many things to them especially for *compliance;* while most women desire that their husbands would communicate many things to them especially for *comfort.* Husbands desire being honoured as *valiant and powerful* champs, while women desire being honoured as *valuable and precious.* chicks! When couples learn how to skilfully communicate with good understanding of this complementary context to meet these felt needs, their relationship is more fulfilling and seamless.

*Skill and sensitivity,* warmth and wisdom (not words only) are needed to *effectively combine these modes of expression to express ourselves* the way we want our communication *to be perceived and to produce the response we want to elicit.* However, our skill in utilising these modes of expression effectively for appropriate perception *depends on divine grace, our good intensions and our positive attitudes.*

Flatterers, vain talkers and deceivers like Delilah (Judg 16:15-17), the generation of ungodly men (Psa 12) and the adulterous seductive women (Pro 5:3; 7:5, 21) know how to communicate to convince, agree, deceive and entice; but Christians do not know how to communicate God’s mind in Bible-based speech (Col 3:16-20) seasoned with salty words, graceful responses and meek disposition (Col 4:6; 1Pet 3:5). Instead we argue, resent, nag and quarrel based on our personal purposes and selfish passions rather than the divine pleasure.

Complementary marriage responsibilities are unconditional – they are NOT responses to reward the good behaviour of the other spouse, BUT responsibilities in-spite-of whatever behaviour of the other spouse. Complementariness is neither competition nor casualness, but cooperation and commitment, or agreement and encouragement, gratification and gratitude, tolerating and appreciating one another. Each spouse should partner with the other to make-up for what the other is naturally and reasonably unable to cope with. *Complementariness is not about giving commands to be obeyed or making demands to be fulfilled.

Ven. Dr. I. U. Ibeme
Maiduguri

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