Friday, November 7, 2014

10 Tips to have a successful conversation.

On Fridays I have started a series that is addressing the importance of modeling gospel driven marriages. God is the Architect of the brilliant plan to capture the hearts of the generations through His families (Malachi 4:6). God has designed the family to be the channel to pass on His plan for redemption to the next generation (Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 78:3-8). NBFamilies are working to discover providential opportunities where - traditional parents, single parents, grand parents, step parents, foster parents - can experience God’s life changing presence in their homes.

Let this sink in:
  • Our kid’s hearts are being shaped by observing our marriages.
  • Our kid’s faith is being influenced by observing how we treat each other as husband and wife.
  • Our kid’s faith, their ability to trust, their sense of safety and security, is either being bolstered or being destroyed every day, as they watch us.
  • Since marriage is a metaphor for God’s love for His church, (Ephesians 5:25-32) what are our kids learning as they study how we relate to one another?

Our kids observe how we communicate. They also evaluate how invested their parents are in one another, based upon how they perceive they speak to each other. Communication, especially in marriage, is so important that it is frequently addressed in Scripture. Read these passages to be reminded that the Bible extols the value of communication.
  • Proverbs 18:13;
  • Proverbs 29:11;
  • Proverbs 12:18;
  • Ephesians 4:24-27;
  • James 1:19
Communication is harder than it looks. When communication is successful it involves self-revelation on the part of one individual and active listening on the part of another. Not only does communication take a lot of time and effort, it is the one factor that can make or break a marriage.Research tells us that most men are less likely to labor at communicating. Also, most wives have more words to express themselves than do their husbands. Further, wives are regularly frustrated when their husbands are reluctant to converse with them. Although the process can be difficult, it is worth the effort.
Look below for some helpful tips for a successful conversation:The person who is speaking should:
  • Say whatever you mean to say in manageable pieces – not too long or too short. If you don’t say enough the message is insufficient, but if you say too much the message causes overload and isn’t received.
  • Look the listener in the eye. Eye contact (instead looking at your smart phone or the TV) instills credibility and worth in the conversation. If you are making eye contact, you can discern if your message is being heard.
  • Be careful with non-verbal cues. When tone and content are in conflict confusion and misunderstandings are to be expected. More importantly, when tone and content are in conflict, always go with the tone to interpret the message.
  • Use “I” statements when communicating your message. Your perspective is what you know best so “I” statements are trustworthy. Plus, “I” statement prevent the listener from becoming defensive and ceasing to listen.
  • Consider the disposition of the listener. If the listener is too emotional, or too tired, or too busy, or too anything, then you will not be successful in communicating your message.
The person who is listening should:
  • Focus on what the other person is communicating rather than formulating a response or offering a solution.
  • If the speaker’s message is too long for you to follow, politely ask the speaker to present the message in a manageable size so that you can successfully hear and interpret the message.
  • Paraphrase the manageable piece of information back to the speaker to confirm that the message was successfully communicated.
  • Be careful with non-verbal cues. The speaker will be distracted if the listener rolls their eyes, sighs deeply, reacts too emotionally (anger, disinterest, sad, amused).
  • Consider the disposition of the speaker. If the speaker is too emotional, or too tired, or too busy, or too anything, then they will not be successful in communicating the message. Call a time out to allow the speaker to regain a better state of mind. Be sure to return to the topic and not withdrawal and ignore the speaker.
Jesus doesn't promise you will always have a successful conversation, but He promises you can have an eternal anchor for your soul: THE GOSPEL (John 16:33). Our kids need to see what it looks like to follow Christ more than they need to hear what we say it is like to follow Christ. Parents are the models of following Christ. This is no easy task. Yet there is no better way to teach them than to show them. Our kids need to see us struggle, mess up, yet reply with gospel centered reaction.
Our responses to one another, especially in the arguements, must be graceful and gospel centered:
  1. Mistakes are made,
  2. Grace is offered,
  3. Forgiveness is experienced,
  4. Repentance causes change and
  5. Mercy is enjoyed!
The gospel response is always the best response and this is how our kid’s faith will be influenced. Is it time to have a conversation with you spouse and begin living a gospel centered marriage? That is my prayer for you. God bless our marriages!
Dr. Phil Sallee, Pastor

No comments:

Post a Comment