In most cases of marriage counseling, communication is something that needs to be worked on for both parties. When the couple is able and willing to apply this simple technique to how they communicate with each other, their intimacy and love for each other increases and changes the perspective they came into marriage counseling with.
I believe when we are in healthy relationships with our spouse, God uses each of us to heal and challenge each party to grow in areas we may never experience outside of marriage. As iron sharpens iron as it is stated in Proverbs 27:17, partners challenge each other to stretch, get out of our comfort zones, and grow in ways we never thought we needed or wanted to in the first place.
By learning to listen to our partner we are able to become a source of strength and love for our spouse. We learn to demonstrate a love that is selfless and compassionate, and a love based off of a choice to love and not a feeling. We then demonstrate love that is committed to seeing us through, to celebrate with us as we continue to grow into the person God has created in each of us to be.
So how to we listen to love?
When we are the listener, we are just that THE LISTENER, which requires NO WORDS on our part. Our job is to LISTEN to what the other person is saying from THEIR SHOES. It is NOT our time to wait to be able to rebuttal, it is our time to be SELFLESS and choose to understand why our spouse thinks and feels the way THEY do. When the speaker is done talking, it is then our job to ask, "so what I hear you saying is..." and then followed by "is that what you are saying?" If the answer is NO, from our spouse, then we have not listened well and it is their time again to repeat what they said for us to listen. Until your spouse FEELS HEARD, it is our job to ONLY LISTEN.
Now that your spouse has felt heard in what they have said, then they take on the role as the listener with the same guidelines. Your job as THE SPEAKER is to keep your statement BREIF. Do not go on and on or continue to repeat the same point in an effort to be heard. This may be the pattern of communication you have created in the past, but it is the pattern we are trying to replace with ACTIVE LISTENING. When you are the SPEAKER your job is also to communicate in ONLY "I" MESSAGES, and NOT "you" messages. As soon as someone uses a "you" message, the other party is immediately put on defense and is not going to listen to what you are saying without feeling threatened by you. If the other person is the source of your concern or contention within your statement you can say things like "I feel _____ because_____". This will help the listener be able to hear without feeling like they have to defend themselves, and will be able to focus on putting themselves in your shoes to understand and make you feel heard.
This may seem like a juvenile task, but it is only to be used as a tool to begin a better communication pattern, and only to be used until you are able to both feel heard. It is worth the effort, and the results will follow, you just have to do the work to begin with!
If you need further assistance and would like to schedule an appointment via telehealth with Pastor Jen you can do so here: Scheduling
Is this you?
.Do you want to know God more? Do you want someone to help you do so? Do you want someone to walk alongside you who has been in your shoes? Do you feel alone? Do you want to experience the healthier and happier you?