Followers

"There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage." ~Martin Luther

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Speak the Truth In Love- Part I of the Communication Series

Many of you will agree that one of the greatest obstacles to a successful marriage is the inability to communicate. It is imperative that the lines of communication be open at ALL COST between a husband and wife.

SH mentioned Josh Powell's five level of communication:

Level 1: Cliche conversation. This is where a person hides behind the safety of cliches. No personal sharing is involved. Cliches such as  'how are you today?' or 'Looks like it is going to rain today'
Level 2: reporting facts about others. Here people mention what others have said to them but offer no personal views on those facts. You know, reporting facts like a newsreader
Level 3: ideas and judgements. This is where real communication begins. A person is willing to step out of the cliche screen and risk sharing his/her ideas and judgements.
Level 4: feelings and emotions. A person shares his feelings about issues. This is where effective communication starts. Couples need to interact at a level where you know what each other feels about vital issues
Level 5: openness and honesty. This is the ultimate level. All deep relationships especialy marriage must be based on honest communication if not the marriage will suffer.

The communication process in marriage (and even other aspects of life) comprises of three simple but very powerful rules: talking, listening and understanding. We would address each one separately.




Talking
SH says "talking is not just the opposite of silence. And talking for the sake of talking is not good communication either." You know, some people talk too much, some too little and some with little or no meaning.  He says "talking with point and purpose is an essential ingredient of effective communication."

During courtship, couples spend hours together, sharing plans for the future, sharing ideas and what not, but after marriage communication frizzles out and the discussion is only about mundane things or home stuff or the children (level 1 and 2 above). When the children now leave the house, it becomes obvious that there is nothing to talk about.

source: google images
Couples need to "talk it out". And from a Christian perspective SH says "talk it out- in love". Eph 4:15 says-  Speak the truth in love. Lets break this scripture down a bit further.

Speak... 
This means "being willing and ready to talk things out rather than withdrawing in silence". This isn't just about resolving issues but being open and honest in all things. Some men can sometimes be guilty of not talking. By putting your wife's interests first and talking to her, it brings her into your world.  It could also bring you both "physical and spiritual rejuvenation". So you ask how do I initiate good conversation. You could start by asking questions which help to stimulate conversation and encourage your partner to tell you how he or she feels. A few questions to ask (there are more in the book) are:

  1. How do you think our marriage has enriched our lives?
  2. Do you feel I accept you as you are- or do you feel pressure from me to change you?
  3. Do you feel I fufill your sexual needs?
  4. What is the best thing that happened to you today?
Now in asking these type of questions that involves your partner giving thought to their answer, SH advices not to force things. Allow conversation to flow naturally. He says to look at your partner when he or she speaks. Even the Yorubas say "oju l'oro wa" meaning literally "words are in the face/eyes". Don't do this when you are driving though lol! Lastly keep at it- some questions might grind to a halt where your partner doesn't know the answer or does not have an opinion on the matter. Don't let that discourage you. Pursue the matter gently. 

By practicing the above, it helps to develop conversation that helps to deepen the relationship. I challenge us all to try this and see if you and your partner grow closer as a result of taking time to talk together. I certainly will be practicing these tips.

...the truth...
To have great communication between a man and wife then there must be a commitment to speak the truth in all things, you know tell it like it is.  Each partner should have the right to talk about their concerns and expect a listening and understanding ear. A lot of couples hide behind a facade and do not communicate honestly.

Sometimes the fear is that in communicating truthfully you might hurt your partner's feelings. Well speaking the truth might hurt and then again it might not. The point however is that we can only develop effective communication when truth is involved. Ask yourself when you consider lying to avoid hurt or awkward situations- are you really afraid of hurting your partner or is it yourself you are worried about? Do you think telling the truth isn't worth the hassle?

source: google images

But common, there will be sometimes when lying to avoid unpleasantness will be necessary? Right? Well SH says- "lying may avoid unpleasantness for a while but in the long run it causes even more unpleasantness. It sours the soul of the one who hides the truth and remember, lies, even little ones, have a way of being discovered, and when they are found out, there is even more hurt and unpleasantness."

Hmmmmm, ok ooo

...in love
Ok so we agree above that we should speak the truth always when communicating in a marriage but it doesn't end there. Speaking the truth does not mean tearing your partner apart. Truth must be shared in love. SH says- you don't have the right to share the truth in your marriage unless you do it in love."  Truth without love will rips your partner and leaves them feeling distressed and miserable. Yes, truth with love sometimes hurts as well but "like an antiseptic on a cut, it also heals."

Speaking the truth in love means a commitment to using only appropriate words.  Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue. James 3:2-10 also talks about the power of words and why it is crucial to control our tongue. When you speak you create a world of beauty or of misery. Name calling, blaming, accusations and sarcasm and blurting things out without considering the feelings of your partner are unscriptural ways of sharing the truth. Focus on choosing words that carry a positive and helpful message.

Speaking the truth in love also means enhancing the right use of words with the right tone of voice. Saying the words "I love you" in a dull and monotone voice contradicts the meaning of the words.  In communication process they do say that the words we use carry 7% of the message, the tone carries 38% and our body language carries 55%. That is why sometimes when chatting via messenger the wrong message is passed across- I digress. So it is key to know it is not always what you say that matters but the tone of the voice and your body language.

Speaking the truth in love means using truth as observation and not as accusation. When you accept responsibility for your own feelings about an issue and communicate that to your partner, they are less likely to be defensive. For example if you say- 'You are careless around the house', that is accusatory. However when you start with the words 'I am' or 'I feel' you are expressing the feeling with ownership. So it would be better to say 'I feel upset when the house is untidy'. This helps your partner understand that  you are honest about your feelings yet not accusing them.

Wow! This communication process seems tough but I guess with practice is becomes easier. I definitely need some practicing on my speech! We will continue our discussion with listening and understanding next time. Please subscribe to our posts by email or follow us so as not to miss any updates. 


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5 comments:

  1. Ibifiri Mobolaji-Kamson30 November 2011 at 03:58

    very true. for me communication is a strong key to a very long lasting relationships and not only the talking but also the tone.
    www.secretlilies.blogspot.com

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  2. I am learning to keep a low humble tone even when I am angry at my husband

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  3. Great post Aloted!!!
    I love those sample questions.
    Great Post!
    I am learning to keep a low tone even when I am angry at my husband

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  4. thanks for your comment. yes the tone counts a lot.

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  5. Ah! aren't we all learning. Doesn't come naturally to me so we are in the same boat :)

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