Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Communication part 2

When you talk about communication, you have to talk about every aspect of it. The good, the bad and the ugly all has to come out. Without talking about every side of it it's very easy to develop bad communication skills without even realizing you've done so. We've already talked about how our body language can negatively communicate to our spouse so now lets talk about some of the other ways we negatively communicate with our spouse before we move on to positive communication.

Let's start with a very popular choice for us girls...nagging. We have all done it at some point in our marriage so nobody get mad at me! :o) I googled the definition of nagging and found it very interesting. Here's what I found...

1. To annoy by constant scolding, complaining, or urging.
2. To torment persistently, as with anxiety or pain.

I also found this...

1. To scold, complain, or find fault constantly
2. To be a constant source of anxiety or annoyance

Read those very carefully a couple of times and let them sink in before you continue.

My husband is a very forgetful man, he is one of those people who would forget his head if it wasn't attached! With that being the case, it is very easy for me to fall into nagging him. He so often forgets something that it just becomes second nature for me to remind him about things over and over. However if i'm honest, I do remind him about things even when I know he hasn't forgotten them. The truth is, sometimes he just simply doesn't do things in my time frame. I think he's taking too long to do something so I just decide i'm going to bug him about it until he gets it done! That's nagging. That is being a constant source of annoyance and it never accomplishes anything.

I understand there are times that it feels like it's so important we simply can't let it go, but we have to take a step back and figure out if this is something we should really be pushing. I love the verse in Proverbs 21:9 that says “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.” By the way, the first time I heard that verse it was like a sucker punch in the gut! It was the first time I realized that I had become a nag and saw what exactly I had been putting my husband through.

What about an issue pertaining to church? What if you're in a situation where you want to go to church but your spouse doesn't? Is it ok to nag then? As hard as this is to believe I really don't think it is. There are some things you should simply pray about. Spend some time giving it to God and let Him take care of it. Nagging is simply unbelief’s substitute for prayer. We have to believe that God is big enough to talk loud enough that your spouse can hear Him enough! Now that is not to say that you should not go to church, there is nothing that should keep you from your relationship with Christ and that includes your husband. God’s rules and desires trump your husbands every time they conflict! I’m speaking only of your husband himself not wanting to attend church.

Another form of bad communication is simply fighting. Nothing ever gets resolved when you fight your spouse. Now I’m not saying that the two of you will never disagree about anything, if you’ve been married longer than a month you are going to have disagreements! However, disagreements are completely different than fights. When you are fighting, everything about you is on guard. You’re ready to throw punches at the drop of a hat and it doesn’t take any time at all to move from reasonable to unreasonable.

Have you ever tried to talk with an unreasonable person? It can be one of the most difficult things to do. Unreasonable means “refusing to listen to reason”, or “lacking reason or judgment”. I love the definition of words because looking up what a word truly means can show us how well it describes us sometimes. So like we did last time, take a minute and remember back to your last disagreement. Were you being unreasonable? It does not matter whether you are right or wrong, once you hit unreasonable your disagreement has turn into a fight and you are absolutely in the wrong. It’s very important to remember that every disagreement does not have to turn into a fight!

Now let me segue here for just a moment and talk very quickly about disagreement. Just because you are married does not mean that you will forever agree on everything. Do not try to dehumanize your spouse by forcing them to agree with you about everything! They are their own person with their own thoughts and views. I will talk more about disagreements in marriage at a later time but I wanted to add that little snippet. :o)

Before I end this I want to say one more thing about fighting very quickly. It is very important to remember that when you start fighting your spouse you are actually fighting against yourself. The day the two of you got married you became one. It is absolutely impossible to fight yourself and walk away the winner. You can’t do it! When you fight your spouse you have begun to fight your very well being, and it does nothing but hurt and damage both of you. I strongly urge you to learn how to disagree with your spouse without fighting!

That's all for this post. After this I have one more post about 2 more forms of bad communication before we are able to move onto good communication. As always, if this series is something you're interested in feel free to become a follower or subscribe and have each post delivered directly to your inbox.

This post is linked up with Time Warp Wife, Raising Homemakers and Women Living Well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Communication part 1

I have to start this series with the topic of communication because I believe that communication is the cornerstone of any good marriage. Without the ability to effectively communicate you can't even begin to work on any other aspect of you marriage. That being said, I think I will probably write a few posts on this topic because it is such a huge part of marriage and there are so many different forms of communication. If I were to try to fit it all into one post it would end up way too long!

Everyone knows that to have a successful marriage you have to have good communication with your spouse, but not everyone knows how to communicate effectively. I know when Colby and I first got married we had no idea how to communicate effectively, we both thought that as long as we talked about something, anything really, we were communicating. It wasn't until we had been married a little over a year and our marriage was falling apart that we realized that we hadn't been communicating at all in our marriage.

As a woman I thought that communication would just come naturally. It's something women are born with right? I mean after all women are reported to speak as much as 3 times more than men each day. One study that I found (although i'm not sure how accurate this study is) said that women can speak around 20 thousand words in a day compared to a man's 7 thousand. Surly in all those words there has to be some good communicating going on right? I'm not so sure.

Communication is not something that just happens when you open your mouth to talk, it is a skill. But it is not a skill that you are simply going to wake up one day and be good at, it takes practice, forethought, effort and all around work sometimes.

Communication is so much more than just the words you speak. If you really stop and think about it, everything you do communicates; how you act, how you walk, how you look, what you say...everything communicates something. One of my favorite shows on tv is "Lie To Me". In this show the main characters are called human lie detectors, they read every single expression, gesture and body movement to determine if a person is telling the truth or not. That show is a perfect example of how everything about you is some form of communication.

Look back to the last argument you had with your spouse. Can you remember remember what your body language was? If you were anything like me there was probably some sighing, a little eye rolling every now and then, you may have had your arms crossed at times and probably interrupted your spouse at least once, or maybe two or three times! Lets take a minute and think about what exactly you and I are communicating to our spouse through each of those actions.

We'll start with sighing. There is no better way to show impatience than with a sigh. Perhaps your spouse has been talking about the same thing over and over and just won't let something go. Or maybe you are just trying to get them to understand your point of view and they just aren't getting it. Naturally, a sigh of exasperation comes out.

How about rolling your eyes? I once heard someone say that when a teenager rolls their eyes at their parents they are telling them with their eyes "You are getting on my last nerve and I really wish you would just shut up!". Could it be possible that when we roll our eyes at our spouse we are telling them the exact same thing? We may be appalled at the idea of saying something like that with our words and never realize that our eyes have been saying it the whole time.

As for crossing your arms, when you do that you are effectively putting a wall up between you and your spouse. I know that when they have hurt you it can be a defense mechanism to want that wall there, but in order to have good communication between the two of you all walls have to be broken down. And it can start with something as simple as uncrossing your arms.

Now my favorite... interruption. It is absolutely disgraceful to interrupt a person when they are still talking. Think about it, as parents we spend so much time teaching our children to not interrupt us when we are talking. Don't we need to take the time to teach them by example when speaking to their other parent? I know, it can be so frustrating to be in the middle of a discussion (doesn't that word sound so much better than argument?!) and your spouse just doesn't seem to get what you're saying! It feels like you have to interrupt them and explain things to them better, but before you do it just stop. Put yourself in their position. How does it feel when someone interrupts you?

I know that each one of these things is completely natural to do, and i'm not about to pretend that i'm perfect and never do any of them. I started this out by saying "if you are anything like me", so I understand the battle to do what's natural. But we have to remember that as christians we aren't supposed to walk in the natural. We have to constantly fight the urges to do what comes natural to us and walk in Christ and live in the super natural!

Now with that in mind, what has your body language been communicating to your spouse?

As always, if this series is something you're interested in feel free to become a follower or subscribe and have each post delivered directly to your inbox.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New series

This past weekend Colby and I had the privileged of attending the "Love Worth Fighting For" conference with speaker Kirk Cameron and musical guest Warren Barfield. It was a truly awesome event and something I haven't been able to get off of my mind since that evening. So I have decided that since I have my very own blog, why not write about it?! So over the next few weeks, i'm going to do a bit of a series on the subject of marriage. Now I am not an expert by any means, but my husband and I have gone to marriage training for over half of our marriage and I will be using quite a bit of that teaching, as well as things we learned at this seminar. I'm also planning on sharing bits of our story and things we personally have learned through some of the things we've been through.

I can tell you that it's going to be real. I'm going to be honest, and at times i'm going to be very blunt. But I think it's time for more people to stand up and teach on God's design of marriage, which is one reason I was so grateful to get to go to this seminar. By the way, if this seminar is coming anywhere close to your area you should absolutely go! I very highly recommend it!

So if this at all interests you, feel free to follow my blog or subscribe and receive each post directly in your inbox. My goal is to have two posts up each week, but since i'm getting a bit of a late start this week there will only be one this week. Please join me in this series and feel free to leave feedback and your thoughts on the subject in the comments section.

And just to get everyone in the mood for this, here is the music video of the theme song from the movie "Fireproof". It's called "Love is not a fight" by Warren Barfield and it is such a powerful song!

This post is linked up with Time-Warp Wife, Raising Homemakers, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home and To Love Honor and Vacuum.