Monday, December 3, 2012

MARRIAGE MINUTE #3: Communicate

 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” 
 James 1:19

Marriage Minute #3:  Communicate--Find Out How You Communicate Best

Women are talkers.  In fact, there have been studies that show that women talk nearly 3 times more than men.  One source states that women speak 20,000 words in a day while men speak only 7,000 words.  However, recently, I have discovered some research that claims that this statistic is false and that women and men actually say nearly the same amount of words in a day.  No way!!!  Just ask my husband.  Just ask my brother.  Growing up, my mom would ask my older brother a question like, “How was the dance?”  His response…”Fine.”  My mom would ask me the same question, and I would tell her every detail—every song played, every song I danced to, every conversation I had, how I was feeling at every moment, what everyone wore, what the decorations looked like, who chaperoned, where we all went afterwards…well, I think you get my point.  I don’t care what the new research says, I truly believe that women talk more than men do. 

Regardless of who talks more, in a marriage, the important thing is that you talk.  Brad and I learned two ways that we communicate best and get out the “tough stuff”. 

1.       Writing Letters or Emails:  While going through some very challenging times in our marriage, we realized that talking face to face was not the best way for us to communicate.  We would interrupt each other too much.  We would get angry.  We would always end up yelling or fighting and so we decided to write.  Writing for us allowed each of us to really stop and think about what we wanted to say.  Writing allowed us to get all of our thoughts and feelings out without the other person jumping in before we had a chance to finish.  Writing gave us more freedom to express ourselves honestly and openly.  But the writing was just the starting point…it was a way for us to begin a difficult conversation and give the other person a chance to think and pray about a response.  Then we both felt ready to have a face to face conversation and commit to resolving it together.  I highly recommend writing--especially if you have a lot of things you’ve been wanting to say but haven’t or if you don’t seem to get anywhere during a tough conversation.

2.      Sunday Night Chat:  Again when we were going through some difficulties in our marriage and especially after having kids, we realized that we needed to set aside some time where we talked…really talked.  So we picked one night a week where we sat down together after the kids were in bed---no kids, no tv, no computer, no sounds---just us.  It was during this time that we checked in on how we were doing, how we were feeling, and we gave each other the opportunity to safely talk about anything we needed to “get out.”  And it was helpful. 

I love the verse from Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  This week, I pray for the communication in your marriage.  I pray for opportunities to talk to each other in whatever way works best for you and your spouse.  I pray for honest and open conversations.  I pray for break-throughs in any closed areas.  I pray that when you do talk that you will be, as the bible says, quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.  I pray that you will both commit to making time and taking time to talk and, no matter who says more words in a day in your marriage, you will use the words you do say to build each other up!

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