“Are you listening to me?” I asked my husband who was driving the car.
“Sometimes I don’t believe you hear a word I say.” I added. My husband’s response took me by surprise.
“I’m listening. I’m just not responding.” He explained. “I’m wondering why you want to talk about something that might cause an argument on the way to church.” He added.
He was right. My timing was bad and we probably would have ended up in a fight. I shut my mouth, but before doing so I made him promise we would talk later—no matter what!
Communication is hard in a marriage. Someone once said that communication is to a relationship as blood is to the human body. Communication is what nourishes and sustains a relationship. Without it you no longer have a relationship.
We don’t want to go there. So how do we build good communication skills?
We turn to God’s Word. The bible has much to say on the topic.
First, the Word teaches us: We Must Listen to Understand
“Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (Jas 1:19b).
To honor this truth, I’m learning to focus on what is being said rather than how I feel about what’s being said. That’s not all.
I’m trying to focus on the tone of voice and posture of the speaker instead of just his words.
Listening well also means clarifying valid points rather than making accusations and become defensive.
In other words, I should listen to understand; not judge.
Second, We Must Speak to be Understood———————————————-
“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pro 10:19).
I’m learning it’s important to be deliberate with regard to what, how and when I choose to express myself to my spouse. These things really matter. Riding to church is not the best time to discuss a problem.
First, I must determine what I really want to express. Then, how do I want to say it?
- With excitement?
- With encouragement?
- With conviction?
- With disappointment? Expression helps clarify what we want to say.
It’s equally important to determine when to speak. It’s probably not best to discuss a problem after a long day at work, and definitely not in front of friends or family. Maybe it’s best to share your heart after a meal, recreation or before bedtime.
WHAT KIND OF FIGHTER ARE YOU?————————————
Finally, Understand the Way You fight
(Taken from Denis Rainey’s “Preparing For Marriage Book.)
Did you know that the way you fight is a communication style? It is. What style best describes you?
1.) Are you a fight to win person? I am. I bring the knives, frying pan and the kitchen sink. I’m determined to win even if someone dies. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. But a person who fights to win says, “I’m right. You’re wrong.” You seek to dominate the other person. Does this sound like you or your spouse?
2.) Are you a withdrawer? Do you seek to avoid conflict at all costs? You feel uncomfortable in a fight and you just want to get out. You rarely see any hope for resolving the problem so you give your mate the silent treatment.
3.) Or are you a yielder? You assume it’s better to go along with the other’s person demands than start an argument. To you a safe feeling is more important than being close.
My husband and I took time to determine which best fit our fighting style. Once we identified how each other fights we better understood one another. I remember thinking, “Oh, that’s why he does that!” Plus, we were never again caught off guard by the others response. I highly recommend you discuss these with your mate.
What we want to achieve when fighting is a loving resolve. This takes a special attitude. In humility, both parties must commit to putting the relationship above the issue. Make your relationship a higher priority than the conflict at hand. Determine it’s not a win/lose situation. Both interest are equally valuable. Then discuss the problem as carefully and as sensitively as you can.
Resolving conflict requires forgiveness. This is the miracle of the Christian life—that we can heal our relationships as Christ healed our relationship with HIm through forgiveness.
ENTER TO WIN!!!!
I love these pocket-sized books! My husband and I read our book separately. Then, we went out to eat one night each week to discuss all we learned. What Lysa taught strengthened our marriage and brought us closer together as a couple.
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