Thursday, May 11, 2017

Communication is Key

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As many of you know, I teach marriage classes each week at my church and I also offer Biblical counseling in my office. One thing I find to be a common thread in resolving marital conflict is the need for better communication skills.

Learning to communicate better with your spouse is really just the practice of being more like Jesus in your everyday life. With that being said, there are a few key phrases to remember when it comes to communication:

  • Listen More
  • Talk Less
  • Stop Accusing 
  • Be Honest
  • Speak the Truth in Love
  • Give Undivided Attention
  • Care About the Thoughts and Feelings of Your Spouse
  • Get Rid of the "I" and Focus on "The Lord"
  • Leave the Final Outcome in God's Hands

Let's start with listening more and talking less.

So often, I find that one - or both - in the relationship talks waaaay toooo muuch! First of all, you don't need to give a play-by-play of every detail of why you are upset about a situation. Learn to use fewer words with greater impact. Learn to have a conversation that is two way... not one-way. Practice listening to your spouses heart. Then, if you still disagree, make your case with kind words that don't need to be said in book form. Less is often more in effective conflict resolution.

Now, if you want your spouse to hear you out, DO NOT speak with accusations and tones of sarcasm.

What would Jesus do? Would He tear down or build up? Jesus would be honest and He would speak the truth in a loving way. Granted, there were times that Jesus spoke with authority and righteous anger, but that was always a last resort. And, even so, He didn't go on... and on... and on. Learn to speak your peace and then be quiet. Silence really is golden at appointed times.

When listening to your spouse, learn to really listen and really care about their thoughts.

Practice stopping. Lay down the gadgets. Turning off the TV.  Learn to sit down and L-I-S-T-E-N. There is something really sweet in giving your undivided attention to your husband, or wife, on a daily basis. While this may seem impossible to do during the course of a busy, hectic day, it CAN be practiced in the first 30 minutes, or last 30 minutes, of your day when a habit of being INTENTIONAL about your marriage is put into place.

The biggest problem facing couples today is the self-centered, broken soul who is always looking to fulfill the "I" instead of the "US."

Ask God to help you empty yourself of selfish ambition to embrace the team work of family. Really, our Christian walk should be a life of emptying ourselves of the "I" and filling ourselves with "Him." Transform your mind with God's Word and pray that the Lord will help you to empty your selfishness and embrace your "two becoming oneness."

Lastly, learn to leave the outcome in God's hands.

The Bible says, having done all... STAND. There is a time to speak and there is a time to keep quiet. Many couples never let their words marinate in the heart of their spouse because they operate in fear instead of faith. In doing so, they end up badgering their spouse and therefore dulling their hearing. God is more than able to play your words over and over in the mind of your spouse if you deliver those words correctly and then bathe those words in prayer. Learn to Trust God!

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed before sin entered the picture. They were not only physically naked, but they were also completely transparent in their thoughts. The goal of a good marriage is to be naked and unashamed with each other - in every way. It may not happen overnight (no pun intended), but as you learn to participate with God in your communication skills, your marriage can grow into one that is transparent, loving, pure and joyful in your everyday LIFE.

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