Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Change Your World by Changing Your Words

This is a guest post by Hayley at A Beautiful Exchange.
 
Whether you are married or not, relationships are constantly around you. Obviously, when you are married, the relationship you have with your spouse is one of the hardest, most important things in your life. Even those that have a "happy" marriage have things that they disagree on, maybe even on a daily basis. Now, I have only been married for about 2 years, but throughout this time, I have learned that there is one thing that makes all relationships much easier: communication. For me, the easiest thing to do is get angry and just assume the other person knows what they did wrong. My time as a wife has taught me that people (men especially) aren't bothered by the same things that I am and often times don't realize that what they have done seems wrong to me. The best way to avoid unnecessary conflict is to communicate exactly what it is that upset me.

Instead of making it known that I am angry, sometimes I will even shrug it off. I decide that it's not that big of a deal after all and never mention it again.....Until the next time it happens. Shrugging it off is never good. It may help avoid an awkward topic or argument for the meantime, but in the long term, chances are it will come out again. Once something has had time to build up and fester in your heart, the words that come out will be ugly and hurtful. It's much better to handle things head on in a calm manner rather than letting your irritation build and explode one day. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Even though it seems that communication is most important in the midst of a conflict or disagreement, I would also say that daily conversations that have meaning are extremely important as well. I have noticed that the more my husband and I talk about our days, the closer we feel, and the happier we are. Sometimes, you may feel like you just don't have anything to say. You go to the same job each day or you deal with the same things that your kids do over and over. There's just not that many "happenings" on a day to day basis. I would urge you to be thankful for those days. Be thankful when the storms have calmed and you don't have some major issue to talk over. Take those opportunities to talk to your spouse about goals, ambitions, or frustrations! The nights that my husband and I spend talking without the interruption of any technology are nights that I treasure and hold close to my heart. Everyone loves to feel loved and like they are worth someone else's time, so use that to your advantage!

I know that this topic is really tough for a lot of people--myself included! It's so hard to communicate on the same level and frequency as your spouse, coworkers, and family; it can sometimes be really frustrating. My pastor has mentions frequently that you should pick 2 things to sincerely encourage your spouse for, then bring your own thoughts to the table. When this is implemented, each person can contribute their thoughts, needs, and wants and feel like they are being listened to!

Here are a few tips for maximizing communication in relationships (especially marriages):

-Share at least 2 things that happened
-Ask, "how can I serve you?" and consider how those answers are an outward manifestation of inward needs. Use these to consistently bless your friends/spouse.
-Say 2 encouraging things for every 1 complaint.
-LISTEN
-Pray for those that you love. Pray for their health, happiness, and that they would grow in their relationship with the Lord. Ask if they have something in particular you can pray for, then actually pray for those things.
-Spell out exactly what is frustrating you when an argument springs up. Don't just assume that the other person knows what made you angry. Explain why that certain thing frustrated you.
-Spend time without any distractions. NO cell phones, TVs, computers, game consoles, or anything else that has a plug or batteries. We are a culture FULL of distractions--don't let yourself be distracted from what matters!
 
In the end, we are blessed with relationships with other human beings as a means to bless them. It's so important to consider the many different thoughts and opinions out there, and be willing to listen! What are some of your biggest struggles with communication? Do you have any tips to share with us?

18 comments :

  1. I have a hard time when it comes to anger. When I'm angry (or upset, hurt, etc) I tend to say the first thing that pops into my head, whether I mean it or not, whether it's true or not. I tend to be one of those "lash out first, ask questions later" kind of people, which I know is SO bad and believe me, it gets me into a ton of trouble.

    I've found with me that I need to sometimes just walk away. Not shrug it off, but just wait until I cool down a little bit. That way I can chill out, think about what I'm feeling, and approach the situation later with more healthy communication.

    It doesn't ALWAYS work, because I'm such a hot head, but I'm definitely working on it.


    P.S. Please go check out my post about recycling with Repreve!

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    1. i'm a hot head too!!! and i am constantly telling my husband that i just need some time to "cool down" before discussing further. he doesn't understand this & normally keeps pushing because that's how he deals with things. so we need to find a happy medium! glad i'm not the only one who just needs some cool down time!

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    2. That is one of the BEST things when you are working on patience!! Taking time to cool off is so crucial to holding your tongue and protecting the feelings of others! There's definitely a difference between taking time to think/calm down and just sweeping it under the rug! That's such a good habit! :)

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  2. i love this post & the suggestions down at the bottom!!! spending time without cell phones is definitely something i want to enforce this year because it's needed!
    my husband & i's biggest block at communication is that we can say the same exact thing but mean 2 completely different things - so trying to understanding what someone else is saying & also not making assumptions is important for us!
    i love the suggestion to encourage first before bringing your own thoughts to the table - i need to work on that one myself!

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    1. Thank you for the sweet words, Robyn!! The "no technology" and "no assumptions" rule really helps us!! I still have to work all the time at encouraging more than tearing down! It can make a world of a difference!

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  3. The suggestions at the bottom are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Jen! Glad you enjoyed the post! :)

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  4. I also think that listening is a really really important thing in a relationship - I totally agree!

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  5. Communication is so important in any relationship, but especially between husband and wife. My biggest struggle is with listening. My mind is always wandering to the next thing, and I find it hard to just be in the moment and listen to my husband when he's talking to me. I'm working on it! :)

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  6. Yes, if I'm upset, I definitely try to say why. Communication is important! My husband and I also ask each other about our days. That's important I think.

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    1. So awesome that you guys talk about your days! I think that really fuels communication and gives lots of opportunity for encouraging each other!

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  7. I learned pretty quickly that it was a better idea to bring up a matter and explain why I was frustrated instead of just trying to forget about it and act like i wasn't frustrated! Honest and gentle communication is very important!

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    1. You are exactly right! :) Thanks for reading, Rachel!

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  8. Great tips!! I tend to over talk things when I am mad or upset--where my husband doesn't like to talk at all. So when we get in a disagreement I want to talk it to death, and he wants to just walk away and cool off before he says something he will regret. His method is much wiser, but it is so frustrating... I am working on it! :)

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  9. i have started changing my words and i noticed a difference! hoping it stays that way!

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  10. I love this! It has been something I have always struggled with, especially since being married. My husband always teases me by saying "use your words." And he is right, I need to use my words and just assume and get mad

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