Sunday, December 28, 2008

Communication

A blogging friend of mine has just tied the knot!

(The Local Malcontent) Due to the wedding event he does not have the time to post on his blog and has invited me to do a guest post. I thought that I might be able to share some of the things which I have learned from 25 years of marriage. Some things I am still learning or still trying to put into practice because a marriage is living thing that is ever growing and changing and we must be aware of this if we wish to maintain a successful and happy marital life.

And so I dedicate this to my online friend, The Local Malcontent, and his soon to be bride, also 100% Choctaw. I have to admit the fact that they are Choctaw does give them a special place in my heart.

The most important factors in a successful marriage are love and respect. These sound like easy attributes to incorporate into a relationship, but those of us who have been married know that at times it is not easy to put them into practice. There is an excellent book by this same title,'Love and Respect' which I would recommend every married couple read together. I usually give this as a wedding gift to newly married couples because it has such an impact on the marriage when implemented.

But for now I want to address the subject of communication. No relationship can survive poor communication and the marriage relationship is dependent upon it in an even greater way than other relationships. It is vital to the survival of the marriage.

Preparing for a marriage which will be rich and satisfying in love requires that you understand the need for communication between the two of you. . You will never be able to develop a relationship like God would desire for you, if you do not have effective communication with each other.

You might consider communication to be the very heart of your relationship. In the human body, if there is a problem with the heart, the whole body will suffer. In the marriage relationship, if there is a problem with the communication, the entire marriage will suffer the consequences. Communication problems are almost always the root of more visible and serious marital problems. Lack of communication, or poor communication, will cause the marriage to malfunction and will result in disaster.

Without proper communication many ugly things can come about. Things are left unsaid, we assume the wrong ideas, there will be conflicts and confusion. Personal problems will surface and become obstacles in the relationship, unwise decisions will be made and you may be tempted to look for satisfaction elsewhere because of this lack in the relationship.

Without a doubt, good ,effective communication is vital to your marriage. Without the intimacy of communication your marriage will be limited and lack the beauty which God intended for you both to experience in this institution created for our happiness.

You may think that so far you have been doing a fine job at communicating well with one another and have no need to better this area. I am sure that you both talk to each other about everything in an open and loving way. Hopefully, you have been able to share your thoughts and feelings with one another in all honesty. You may respond appropriately and even know how to disagree with one another with a respectful attitude causing no hurt to the other. You are able to discuss with out personal attacks. Your conversations are edifying and bring you closer to one another.

If this is how you describe your relationship, you are fortunate. You already have a strong foundation on which to build a successful marriage because effective communication is vital for developing a really good marriage. Keep up the good work and never stop working at it!

Unfortunately , over the years we have had the opportunity to work with many married couples who have come to us after the wedding and felt deceived or disappointed. They will explain that they use to talk about everything together, plan together, listened to one another, but things have changed. They do not understand what is the problem with their relationship and are rightly alarmed.

This causes us to realize that one of two things has happened. First, perhaps they were wrong and their previous communication was not as effective as they had thought. New love does cause us all to be idealist. Or secondly, perhaps they let down their guard and were not diligent in maintaining the lines of communication open after the wedding. No one sats out to do this but life is busy and it can easily happen in any marriage.

For whatever reason, the damage is the same. Distance develops between the couple. Emotional and physical intimacy is lost. So even if your communication is excellent right now, remember to work at it and never take it for granted. It is always possible to make something better than it already is.

Communication is so important, I can not cover the material in one writing. So now, you have your work cut out for you! Remember communication is not just words, not just verbal. Facial expressions, the way you respond, your laughter, body language, how you spend your time and what you spend time doing are all methods of communication .

Whether you realize it or not, you are always communicating something. Your mannerisms often speak louder than your words. Actually, if there is a contradiction between your words and your comportment, people will often put more value on the message expressed through body language rather than the words they hear. Make yourself alert to your mannerisms and be conscience of the signals you are sending. You can communicate love and respect or you can tear down and destroy a relationship through poor communication.

Ephesians 4:29-30 (King James Version)

29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

And now, a bit of homework for the two of you! (I am after all a home school mom!)

Here is a list for you to use in order to evaluate your communication skills. Rate yourself with Excellent, Good, Average, or Poor as to how well you communicate in each area.

1) Spiritual things ( church, service to others, devotional time)
2)Details of events and activities
3) Ideas, opinions
4)Desires, worries, interests
5)Feelings and emotions
6)Plans, goals
7)Expectations and aspirations
8)Finances
9)Work
10)Family matters
11)Dreams ( not the same as desires or goals!)
12)Sex
13)Friends
14)Recreation/Sports
15)Problems/ failures
16)Victories/accomplishments
17)Everyday happenings
18) What you are reading or studying
19)Television, movies, music

List 10 ways to communicate non verbally!

And now I would like for my readers to all share a bit of wise advice for our soon to be married couple in the comments.

15 comments:

redneck preacher said...

Never beat your wife with a stick larger than your thumb

HTOITA

redneck preacher said...

A follow up comment,

I've been married for almost 40 years and that beating thing is one of the lines that must never ever be crossed.

The real advice:
Early in our marriage I decided, as a guy to be very transparent about things. This does not mean I said the stupid things guys sometimes think but I asked her advice about dangerous situations I was in. I had a job that required me to be active around lots of "spiritually challenged" young women. She learned I could be trusted and that she was the only person that occupied that part of my brain. Did I say that delicately enough?

HTOITA

Findalis said...

For the gentlemen:

Always put the toilet seat down. Get used to it. Don't argue about it, just do it.

For the ladies:

Let him win an argument once and a while. You know you're right, that's all that matters.

And remember to laugh.

Christopher Hamilton said...

Congrats to your friend Rita.

Christopher Hamilton
The Right Opinion, for the Right Wing

MightyMom said...

Laugh often and hug frequently!!

Honestly. Remembering your sense of humor in even the hardest and most stressful times will get you through a lot. Always remember to touch, daily. The hardest part of my marriage was when he first started working nights and I suddenly realized we'd been 2 months without so much as a hug. Once I made a point of hugging him when I saw him things improved, (this wasn't the only reason they improved as adjusting to the sleep schedule helped too). Touch has the power to heal, lack of touch has the power to kill.

Also, the best marriage advice I've ever heard:

Remember that our life is on a cycle, like the tide. All the yummy feelings we associate with being "in love" will come and go like the tide, we have to have the firm committment of "love" to get us through the times when the tide is out. Just remember during the hard times, the tide goes out.....but it ALWAYS comes back in.

Good luck!

Brenda said...

Thats great Rita, you ought to gift that to every couple getting married.

ExPreacherMan said...

Rita,

1) Make sure both are absolutely true believers in Jesus Christ as Savior.
2) Make sure both are equally committed to close fellowship with their Savior.

Tell one another "I love you!" and mean it.

The Lord took my first wife of 49 years. That last night as I left her in the hospital, we hugged and told each other "I love you." I never realized how important were those words and that last hug until they called me from the hospital to say she had unexpectedly passed away. I was devastated but I still remember those last few tender minutes.

Love each other -- Show it and and say so!!

In Christ eternally,

ExP(Jack)

gecko said...

Never take your partner for granted, after 28 yrs, we still thank one another for a cup of tea, whether it be the first or the fourth.

Have a common interest and goals, (and these do change over the years), but still allow each other some time and space.

Communication leads to trust, which leads to a healthy, long lasting relationship.

The Localmalcontent said...

Such a great idea,- JMom,
Thank you ALL, kind readers~!, for your kind responses, and your experienced wisdom re: A lasting marriage.
Leti and I can sure use it.

JMom, we two just came from church (hers), after our first day as a married couple; long ago, we both understood, knew to make God #1, as it should be. It was just the 'technical' advice I asked for.
Tomorrow morning, we drive to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to catch a flight eventually to Miami for our honeymoon.
Thank YOU for everything you've done for me, us, and may God richly bless you and yours- The LMC
Now, I hand the keyboard over to Mrs. Local Malcontent, Leticia:

Well, hi, Rita, Im not sure what to say except thank you for being such a great friend to Ron. He talks about you alot with me, and You are afriend to me as well.
He's the sweetest man Ive ever met, you may know. I dont know whatelse to say but thank you for all you did for him.
Leticia Page,
Mrs. Malcontent.

Charles said...

My grandmother told me never to go to bed mad.

Jungle Mom said...

Mrs. Local Mal Content! Wonderful to hear from you in person. Have a great honeymoon!

Brooke said...

Congrats to your friend! :)

Jackie said...

Speak kindly. Treat each other better than strangers, be polite and NO FIGHTING. Fighting is for children. :-)

Sarah Joy said...

If you become angry, do or say something kind. It's totally worth how weird it feels at first.


Relax. Don't take yourself too seriously. Give the benefit of the doubt if at all possible. Be gracious, as you would want someone to be with you. This is especially helpful when your love has done something dumb. Treat them like you would want them to treat you when you blow it, because you WILL.

And what Rita said about communication: DITTO!!!

Kris said...

my husband (of 14 yrs next month) says he can either be right or be happy, he chooses to be happy...

;)

kw