For years, I’ve enjoyed fishing–or rather “catching”–fish with my husband. But years ago we also learned a fishing technique we’re always working on: one that deals with communication–and one that has deepened our relationship.
Both Communication and Fishing Require Skills
Through the years I’ve learned some fishing skills from my husband about how to snag ’em and bag ’em, instead of casting my lures on the water and catching nothing but lily pads and moss. (Of course, that still happens a lot).
Communication, too, requires skill. Anytime a relationship experiences a communication breakdown, maybe it’s time to “go fishing.” But not in shallow waters. This is where fishing and communication may differ slightly. While it’s possible to catch fish in shallow water, with communication, you need to go out into the deep water, where the big fish live.
The stuff of life often leads us in different directions, and before long, we neglect the connections with those we love. We limit our communication levels to shallow water, while the big fish move out to deeper hiding places. Simple “How was your day” works great for small talk and provides a needed check-in for relationships, but it won’t snag the heart of another and keep it on the line for very long.
Communication and Marriage
Our hearts are like that. In a marriage, going fishing in your mate’s heart means using the best God-given equipment you own: Spirit-sensory perception, attentive, listening ears, and continual patience–to draw the “big ones” out.
The big fish have long eluded you both: hidden resentments, buried dreams, and deep longings. Those who are patiently willing to go fishing in “deep waters” will draw out those “big-uns,” as pro fisherman Jimmy Houston says, and re-establish good communication. Do you know what your mate is thinking? Do you really care about their deepest fears?
Continual Fishing, Continual Communication
Hard, plastic lures will probably not work here. Only live bait such as love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and goodness will catch the really big ones. And we’re not talking about “catch and release” either. Healthy relationships keep those communication discoveries tucked in their hearts.
But they’re not satisfied with once in a while trophy catches. They keep fishing and learning, fishing and growing.
Going Fishing in All Relationships
The secret of “deep water fishing” communication works in all relationships: friendships, siblings, even parent/child relationships. James 1:19 (NIV) says it well: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Will that kind of communication take time? Yes. Will it draw you closer to each other? Yes. Never tried it? Maybe it’s time to move out to deep water and go fishing!
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.(Proverbs 20:5, NIV).
When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch” (Luke 5:8, MSG).
My Personal Prayer for You
Lord, we need your help to keep the communication lines open with those we love. Teach us the skills we need to make every relationship the kind you intended. Give us the patience to go fishing in deep waters so we can learn to draw out those things in others that are hidden beneath the surface. Help us to learn better how to understand and draw closer to others.
Have you been fishing lately? How has “deep water” fishing helped you in your communications with others? With your spouse?