Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The big "C": Communication

The big "C" - I'm actually not talking about cancer.  Rather, communication.  And if you don't do it well, your relationships can suffer, not unlike a cancer that robs you from all that matters.

Tonight our engaged couple, from church, stopped by for the lesson on "Marital Communication".  We talked about how early love, that phase of "in love" - otherwise known as "we can't keep our hands off each other" is such a misunderstanding.  When we are "in love" with each other, communication is so easy we hardly even think about it.  About the only thing we notice is that we have so much in common.  We pay so much attention to each other and often remark at how wondrous it is that we can practically read each other's mind.

Then, life happens.  The end of romance, the introduction of disillusionment, aka the natural and normal progression, hopefully on to something called mature love.  Sometimes the feelings of closeness and safety are replaced with real fear as we dive a little deeper.  We become increasingly aware that we are actually quite different from our partner.  We realize that our different-ness is pretty darn real and that's when our friend Communication is really important.  The tools needed to build a good house include: 
  • sharing (you gotta share who you really are - your fears, hopes, dreams - in spite of feeling vulnerable),
  • listening (with the goal of understanding, not judging),
  • acceptance (honor that person you chose!), and then...the frosting: 
  • further growth because you continue to risk exposing and sharing your entire self.
If you forget all else, remember this:  this is one place that it's okay, in fact absolutely imperative, to talk about yourself.  I-statements are the key!  "I messages" expose what's going on with you.  For example:

"I would like to tell you how I feel about (your mother, your clothes, your breath, your job, your friends, your drinking, etc.), do you have time to listen?"


"I feel (bad, isolated, neglected, insecure) when you (watch TV, run the car out of gas, make plans for us, eat the pizza) and I wish you would (think of me, ask me, consult me, consider me) before making decisions that impact both of us ."

Avoid "You messages" such as:  "You don't understand" or "You would not believe" or "You did this..."

"I messages" tend to OPEN up conversations - "You messages" tend to shut DOWN communication.

I'm out of here.  Keep it real.  Time to find Shawn and communicate...and pour a little red.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice for any married - or about to be married - couple. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure Matt and I will learn even more about the importance of good communication at our PreCana retreat in a couple weeks. We will be pros by then! :)