If only we fed sweet things to each other all the time, instead of angry words. Right? But arguments are inevitable. The reason is because from time to time we'll have different opinions on a matter and disagree about them.
This picture was taken at our wedding in 1980. Since then we both have learned by trial and error. After thirty-five years of marriage we've learned a thing or two about how to resolve our disagreements quickly and effectively. I'm not a marriage counselor, but I've read many Christian books, articles, and attended Christian marriage conferences and seminars to learn about the art of oneness and communication.
When my husband and I need to discuss an important matter this is what we do:
1. Pray! We pray before our discussion. I also pray ahead of time for God to help me know what to say and what not to say. And also to prepare my husband's heart to receive well what I'm going to say. There were times I forgot to pray beforehand and the results were disastrous.
2. We set an appointment to meet in the living room without distractions.
3. We both sit down with soft music on the background. We've learned that it's not a good idea to stand in front of each other while arguing. Sitting down creates a non-threatening and relaxed atmosphere.
4. I tell my husband to relax and just to listen to me for the next five minutes without interrupting. I look at the clock to make sure I don't go over my time.
5. Then he talks for five minutes while I sit quietly making a great effort not to interrupt, and actively listen to what he has to say.
6. We use "I" messages instead of "You." For example, I say, "I feel neglected when you...instead of saying, "You neglect me when..." We learned that tool at a fun communication workshop years ago. It's better to express how your spouse's behavior makes you feel rather than accusing them, and causing them to act defensively.
7. The majority of the times we discovered we had misunderstood one another. Allowing each other to speak without interrupting is the key to understanding the situation at hand. Also by compromising we reach a fair scenario for both of us.
Most of the times we're done with our discussion in ten to fifteen minutes. Notice how I used the word, learn many times in this blog. It has been a process to learn how to communicate by utilizing the help of experts in communication and above all, seeking God's wisdom and protection in our prayers.
So pray for your marriage and take advantage of free Christian articles on communication at www.familylife.com. You can also invest in attending their fun and romantic marriage conferences called "A Weekend to Remember."
God bless you!
p.s. If you're not married yet, you can still apply some of these communication skills in your friendships and family situations.