Showing posts from May, 2009

Communication: Listen Some More

God gave us TWO ears and ONE mouth - so we should LISTEN twice as much as we SPEAK! Learning to listen effectively can be the beginning of healthy communication in any relationship. It is a necessity for marriage. Below is a suggestion for improving your listening skills as taken from Oprah "The Most Useful Communication Technique of All Time is deceptively simple, but it works like magic. Next time your partner makes a point, take a moment to digest whatever he is saying. Then say it back to him. Maybe not word for word, but you have to get the gist—and you can't stop trying until your partner agrees you've nailed it. Switch roles and repeat. Once you're not so busy explaining yourself to someone who just doesn't get it, you can look for compromise. Before I started grad school and officially drank the psychotherapy Kool-Aid, I used to mock this technique as a way to wrap gauze around discord: "I'm hearing that you're a pathetic j

Communication: Listening

Most men and women differ in their need for having someone listen to them. Men usually do not discuss issues unless they want help in solving them. They'll compartmentalize the problem in their mind until it's time for a solution. They verbalize to find an immediate fix. For women, talking about a problem is part of their method to find a solution. They aren't looking for someone to help fix it, but someone who'll listen as they sort out the issues verbally. Women will talk and talk about a problem until they talk it through. They can often think of nothing else until they figure it out. No wonder men and women find it difficult to listen to each other. Men want to fix the issue the women wants to talk about, while she is only looking for someone to listen to her. She becomes frustrated as he offers her advice that she doesn't want to hear. If she needs advice, she'll ask for it. Men, on the other hand, may become frustrated when their spouse offers no imm

Communication: Beneficial Conversation

Every couple should set aside at least 15 - 30 minutes a day to converse with each other. It should be uninterrupted time together. You may have to wait until the children are in bed, but it is essential to allow time for your spouse. The more time you spend together, the stronger your relationship will become. If you don’t spend time with your spouse now, you will feel like strangers when the kids leave. Many people divorce at that stage of life because they don’t know how to relate to each other any more. Find activities you enjoy participating in together. Have a date night at least once a month (once a week is even better). Get a babysitter and go on a real date. The more activities you do together where you can have meaningful conversation, the better. Don't always talk about the kids and work, talk about the positive aspects of your relationship. Turn the television off. Teach your children how to sit around and talk with one another. Have a sit down meal with your fami

Communication: Conversation

Conversation with your spouse is a vital part of love, and a very important need for women. Along with affection, it brings a deep connection to one another. When nurtured daily, conversation and affection serve to strengthen the bond of love between a man and woman. The lack of conversation will quickly kill that love. Conversation is a necessity to keep a couple united as one, physically and emotionally. Conversation with her husband will make a woman feel romantic and intimate. (What are you waiting for guys? Here’s a surefire guarantee for physical intimacy.) Most men have no great need for conversation. It is imperative for men to discover the art of conversing with their wives. Find something to talk to your wife about that interests you both. There is no need for deep, intellectual discussion, unless of course it’s an avenue you both like to share. Most women are grateful for any undivided, positive attention they can get from their spouse, no matter how trivial the conversa

Friday, May 15 - Communication: Change for the Better

A crucial part of any successful relationship is forgiveness. Learn to forgive. Colossians 3:13 says, “Forgive as Christ forgave.” Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping it will kill the person you can’t forgive. It will eat at you and do physical and emotional harm without even fazing the other person. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It is a conscious effort to let go of an act you perceive as a wrongdoing by another person and turn it over to God. It is a pardon of their “sin” towards you, along with a mental commitment, on your part, to never bring it up again. You make the choice not to dwell on it or hold it against that person anymore. Make it a habit never to go to bed angry at one another. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Learn to say, “I’m sorry.” Those two words dissolve a multitude of mistakes when spoken sincerely. My husband and I pray together every night and often during the day as the need arises. A few time

Communication: More on Making Changes

Learn to share your feelings without criticizing your partner. Do not attack the person, but objectify the problem. For example, a wife is tired of doing the dishes every night by herself. She’s had a long day with the kids, rendering her totally exhausted. She’s had enough and irrationally screams at her husband, “I’m sick and tired of taking care of you and your kids! You never help me with anything around here! Why don’t you get off your lazy bum and do something?” The wife would have been better off asking for her husband's help in a loving way, such as, “Honey, would you please help me with the dishes? I've had a long day and I'm tired,” instead of attacking him. Unfortunately, the harsh words seem to come after stress and exhaustion have already taken over. If this wife waits until she is calm and not so tired, she could then sit down with her husband and discuss how overwhelmed she feels about all the work she has to do. Could he possibly help out with the dish

Communication: Making Changes

The idea of change causes resistance from most people. We like to stay in our “status quo”. We like things the way they are, even if it involves constant fighting and harsh words. Many battered women go from abusive relationship to abusive relationship because that is what they know. It is too difficult to adjust to a different way.  It's often easier to stay miserable in the status quo than to face the misery of changing the status quo. We do not know how to change. We do not want to change. Many times, people have to hit “rock bottom” before they are willing to make the changes necessary for a better life. They have to reach the place where they cannot stand the way things are anymore. How do you change? First, you have to be willing to change. You must make the decision to get out of the muck that holds you down. God is the best answer for making change, but you must be ready to surrender your will (your SELF) over to him. You have to be able to admit there is a problem in

Communication: More on Conflict

James 4:1-3 - “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” These verses in James tell it like it is. If you seem to be caught in a never-ending cycle of fighting with your spouse, you may want to take some time to study these verses. Instead of blaming your spouse for everything, why not look at what is going on in your own heart. Are your problems that you continually struggle with traced to your own personal SELF-ish motives or desires? Do you feel entitled to something that may be unattainable or unreasonable? Do your desires become demands? Do you self-righteously judge others? Do you struggle to be free from feelings of resentment? Do you want to g