Marriage and Ministry: Opposites Attract and Then They Attack! Part 2

Posted by LifePro Consult in: Emotional Health For Leaders
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Opposites Attract and Then They Attack! Part 2

Our next ingredient to maintaining a fulfilling marriage while serving in ministry leadership is COMMUNICATION.  Although this blog is about marriage, the principles can be used for any important relationship in your life.

We seldom recognize that the words we speak actually play a small role in conveying the message we are communicating.  The breakdown of how we communicate looks like this:

Words Alone = 7% of meaning

Tone of voice = 38% of meaning  

Facial Expression, Gestures and Posture (non-verbal) = 55% of meaning.

So how do we communicate in a more effective manner?

  • Create an environment of safety

The goal is to openly and honestly communicate our needs and feelings to one another. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

In a marriage, that means when you have a chance to doubt or trust, you trust.  When you have a chance to give up or hope, you hope. When you have a chance to quit or persevere, you persevere.  One of the most powerful ways to fill the gaps is to believe the best about your spouse.

  • Schedule time to communicate.

Yes, you heard me right! Actually create regular time to talk.  Put it on your calendar.  I suggest at least two to four 30-minute talk times each week. It’s best to meet in an atmosphere that is inviting.  If you have children at home, set aside 10-15 minutes per day to talk by yourselves.  Even young children can learn that mom and dad are having "mom and dad time" and that means they can play quietly while you talk.

  • Share disappointments before they grow.

Practical tip: Share "Withholds."  Sharing withholds is a great way to regularly “check-in” before offenses grow. 

Sharing Withholds

This exercise will help you and your partner keep a clean emotional slate and avoid needless conflicts.  Begin by writing two things your partner has done in the last forty-eight hours that you sincerely appreciated, but did not tell him or her.  For example, “I appreciated the compliment you gave me as I got out of the car yesterday,” or “I appreciate the help you gave me in writing my proposal last night.”

“I appreciate…”

“I appreciate…”

Next, write one thing your partner has done in the last forty-eight hours that irritated you but you did not say anything about.  Using the phrase, “ I feel ______when you_____” 

Once you both have written your statements, take turns sharing them.  One person shares all three statements one after another.  Then the other person shares their three statements.  Here is an important part of the exercise:  The person on the receiving end can only say “thank you” after each statement.  That’s all.  Just “thank you.”  This rule allows couples to share something that bugs them without fear of a blow-up or a defensive reaction. 

All it takes is for one partner to say “Can we share withholds?”  Then each of you can take a moment to gather your thoughts and away you go.  Sharing withholds can save hundreds of hours of needless bickering.

(from Becoming Soul Mates Seminar: Participants Guide by Les and Leslie Parrott – http://www.lesandleslie.com/)

Serving with you,

Kathy

Co-Founder, Called Leader