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Learning good communication

Learning good communication

Money tip:

What is your Ouch! factor?

Whether you have discussed it as a couple or not, every marriage has an Ouch! factor. This is the amount of money either spouse is allowed to spend individually without discussion or prior agreement. Anything more causes Ouch! in the marriage. The Ouch! amount is different for every couple, but knowing yours is a pretty good idea. What will cause a serious “discussion” in your house, or better yet, what are you willing to come home and say? “Hi, honey, I just bought this beautiful new: lawn flamingo, shirt and tie, bowling ball, set of golf clubs, flat-screen TV, motorcycle, time share, cottage on the lake, ... ”

You get the idea. The hidden issues here include trust, independence, freedom as an individual, and obligation to each other and your family. Again, let your previous discussions on family goals, budgets and spiritual perspectives keep you from entering the Ouch! zone.

– John Morris

Time moment: part 5

Make it a date

Schedule a date. Remember how special dating was? Recall the time you spent preparing, worrying about the smallest details, selecting just the right clothes and finding the right place to go. Show your spouse that you still care enough that you desire to go on a special date – just the two of you – alone with each other. Make specific plans or reservations, and get it on the calendar! You’ll be glad you did.

– Tom and JoAnn Fogle

Time tip: If you don’t already have a calendar, find one that works for you. Rather than putting things off indefinitely, use your personal planner to set goals for yourself. Give yourself concrete deadlines, and plan accordingly to meet them.


Learning good communication: the speaker-listener technique

Real communication happens when:

• There is a speaker and a listener

• You switch roles often

• You do this with a liberal amount of respect for your partner

Try the following method when your normal way of handling conflict isn’t working. The speaker holds a small object, such as a pen, that designates he has the “floor” – meaning it’s his turn to speak. Speak for yourself. Talk about your thoughts and feelings. Use “I” statements. “I think you’re a jerk” is not an “I” statement. “I was upset when you forgot our date” is. Use short statements to make your point. You don’t have to go on and on since you have the floor, and your partner can’t interrupt. Stop after a bit so the listener can paraphrase what you said. The listener’s only job is to listen and paraphrase what they have heard. It is not time to make or formulate a rebuttal! After the speaker has had the floor for awhile, he passes the object to the listener. The speaker then becomes the listener and listener becomes the speaker.

– Tony Sperendi

Romance and intimacy:

Romance in action: stop, look and listen

Remember when you were dating and getting to know your spouse? There was plenty of talking and plenty of intent listening with no interruptions. “Wow, he/she is really listening to me! I matter to this person, and what I have to say is important.” We have to be careful not to let that slip away after we’re married. If you aren’t listening to your spouse, maybe someone else is – like a parent, friend or co-worker. Think about what you might be missing. Speaking for myself, as a parent with kids who have busy schedules, I sometimes see myself as the traffic controller. “Don’t forget to do this … Remember to take that … Please be on time … Where are you going to be? What is your sports schedule this week? Is there a permission slip to sign in your book bag?” I have to remember to back out of that mode and take a breath. It is important to take the time and have one-on-one conversations with your spouse. Stop whatever else you are doing. Look into each other’s eyes. Listen with all your heart as well as your head. It affirms the other and shows that he/she is still that very important person you love and want to know more about.

– Diane and Rick Peiffer

Prayer moment:

Listening and hearing

Him: The mighty waterfalls roar. Lord, you are there, but you are silent.

Her: The molten earthquakes rumble. Lord, you are there, but you are silent.

Him: The hurtling hurricanes scream. Lord, you are there, but you are silent.

Her: The thundering avalanche pounds. Lord, you are there, but you are silent.

Him: The storm cloud thunders. Lord, you are there, but you are silent.

Her: Then you speak – a still, small voice.

Him: You create all things. You create silence, too.

Her: Help us find it. Help us listen with our hearts.

Together: When we hear your Word, O Lord, may we keep it and live it. Amen.

– Pat Nischan