Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult for humans to communicate. Is it just me or do humans seem like they are talking all the time. If you could follow the average person around per day and count how many words or how long they talk you would be amazed. We all have a family member or a friend that we wish would shut it up, once in a while. If you have kids, WOW, just watch them. It is amazing to see how they can go from one subject to another, to another, to another and yes to another and they don’t wear out! I had a couple ,that we were in business with, and they had some marriage issues. We took them to see a mentor to get some help. Hint – if you go to see someone who can help you, you should probably listen! This guy talked for an hour and a half straight! I mean he did not come up for air one time. He must have had an extra air tank hidden in his stomach lining or his kidney. I am convinced that the strongest muscle in the human body is the jaw bone. Now I must qualify all my statements with the knowledge that I don’t speak very much at all. As a matter of fact I could go days without talking and be perfectly fine. OK let’s get to why I started all of this.
Last night me and the Mrs. had to have a talk about something that happened between us. It wasn’t fun but it was very productive and we have a better understanding of how each of us sees the issue. Oh, guys, this talk didn’t happen after laying in bed for 3 hours feeling the tension, then finally falling asleep, and then hearing those words that all males loves to hear. “Can we talk”? AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!! That is how all our talks used to start. They also used to be championship fights of: who could protect their turf, call the best names, make the other person feel the worst, and throw in some belittling and disrespect. The crazy part was we never consciously thought about trying to do those things. We didn’t start our talk and have the thought, I cant wait to make her or him feel like garbage. Actually, we were both trying to get to same end point but we had lots of obstacles in our way that made the conversations more difficult than they should be. If you get rid of the obstacles then it becomes easy to have a conversation like we did last night.
The key foundation of any relationship has to be established on moral authority and speed of trust. When you don’t have that, every conversation will go bad. When you do have it every conversation will have the potential of going well. There are obviously other unique things, to us individually, that we need to work on as well. Last nights conversation was one of working together as a team to problem solve something. Which is what you are when you are in a marriage. You are 2 different people, different personalities, different weakness’ and strengths but you are a team, you are one. At the beginning of our marriage we were two people living together and we defiantly didn’t think of it as being one person. In the beginning I didn’t have moral authority because there were some blatant sins that I needed to deal with. Until those were solidified our foundation would have been on sand and all other changes in myself wouldn’t have the same impact. Then I had to start dealing with my selfish nature. Instead of looking at everything from my angle and how it affected me. I had to understand that she had an angle also and try to see from her side. Initially we couldn’t have that kind of communication face to face. We would go to different parts of the house to cool off and call each other on our cell phone. Stupid, I know, but it worked for us. Then we started to build trust with each other and that allowed us to admit areas that we knew we were weak in. I had to learn that when she was weak, crying or sad that was not the time to get mad but that was the time to comfort her and let her know that we would overcome this challenge. It seems like it was more complicated than that but it wasn’t. We just kept doing that process over and over again. Lots of times we had to have our mentors involved so they could help us see where our thinking was off. In the beginning we changed just because we were more worried about letting our mentors down then changing for each other. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this was a quick or easy process. It has taken us 5 to 7 years to get to a really solid foundation.
Lets go through some basic thoughts to get you moving in the right direction. Side note – these don’t have to be big huge jumps or changes. Every big success is a bunch of small success put together. Forgot where I got that one so it is now a Bill Lewis original. Most of what I am going to recommend revolves around reading. Confucius says, ” By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest: second by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. Reading allows you to reflect on yourself.
1. You have to start working on yourself – if you have moral flaws or trust issues with yourself then growing with another flawed person is going to be really hard. Recommended books: How to win friends and influence people, What to say when you talk to yourself, Speed of trust, Bringing out the best in people, Leadership and self-deception, The pursuit of holiness. These should help start to identify things about yourself that we need to work on.
2. Love language – find out how your partner wants them to be filled, not how you think they want them filled. Start doing some small things. Recommended book – 5 love languages.
3. Start to understand how each other process things. Recommended book – DNA of relationships, love and respect, 5 languages of apology, personality plus.
4. Learn better communication tools. Recommended books – crucial conversation, courage.
5. Use a mentor. You need someone who is unemotionally involved and has results that you want
6. Read the bible. Every issue we have in marriage communication reverts back to some sin we have in our life.
There is so much that goes into this topic that you could devote an entire blog just to this subject. So I recommend that you seek out as much information as you can and continue to grow and become better.