Week 9

Welcome Note

In the next two weeks, we will be dealing with the touchy issue of differences as part of the need for conversation (‘talkativeness’) among the married couple.
A ‘won’t-stop-talking-type’ spouse can feel really lonely and rejected when faced with a spouse who is not talking much.
How do you handle that? Often, one reaches all kinds of conclusions regarding a spouse who is non-talkative.

The Silence is Too Loud……..
It is not a simple issue for us to handle when we face disparity in the need to converse with one 
another. It encompasses several facets of relationships within a marriage.
A key question we need to answer regarding our dissatisfaction about our spouse’s desire (or lack of desire) to talk is: ‘Is this because of the different communication style that my spouse has or is it something else?’
If it is to do with the style of communication, one obvious way out is to learn about it. There are several approaches to this. One approach is the Pointer and Painter Communication styles designed by Dr. David Ludwig. You may find more information about your style and that of your spouse at their website (http://thinkwenotme.com/artppflash.html).
I would like to comment on the 7 suggestions listed in this week’s reading.
1.    Read about the differences between men and women, especially those that relate to communication. There is much to learn about the differences on how man and woman communicate but it is worth the investment to find out more over time.
2.    Learn to not take things too personally. The best way to avoid reading wrongly into why your spouse is not talking to you the way you want him/her to, is to find the right time to find out why.
3.    Don't overanalyse your partner. Yes, this is so true. Don’t guess in this area. It’s risky to do so. You could be totally wrong in your conclusion.
4.    Talk about your feelings in a non-accusatory, non-blaming way. You need to find the right time and be in the right mood to strike this one on the right note.
5.    Ask your spouse what would make him/her feel less overwhelmed when it comes to communication. This is one powerful way to start sorting out your differences in communication.
6.    Ask your spouse for a specific, short commitment of time. This is a practical step to take. It can be very effective in allowing your spouse to take baby steps towards the kind of conversation you want or at least coming close to it.
7.    Learn each other's personality type, and how it shapes communication style. As explained above.
One unknown author has this to say about couple communication.
Learning to communicate in marriage isn’t solved by applying a magic potion— it’s a path of discovery. We individually bring into our married lives, different temperaments and various “styles” of communicating (and not communicating). Some are learned from our past family backgrounds and experiences, and some ways of communicating, we just learned on our own as a single person. What’s important, as you enter into marriage, is that you learn how to communicate as a “couple.” You’re no longer one person making everyday decisions and choices. You’re now both part of a team and you need to proceed through the rest of your married lives as a team. 

Worth Thinking About

This week’s Scripture reminds us that a distinctive characteristic of a strong marriage is the sacrifice of giving. For those who have been married for a long time, they know the great truth that a marriage is all about giving oneself to it and not just focusing on what one can get out of it. A mature marital love gives to the other, without expecting anything in return. This is the kind of love that nurtures a lasting marriage.
Saint Paul calls the married to agape (God’s kind of love – sacrificial, unconditional and unilateral), and not just phileo (ordinary human kind of love), one another.  Ephesians 5:22-33.

Worth Praying

Lord, You redeem our souls when we put our trust in You (Psalm 34:22). I pray that (spouse’s name) would have faith in You to free himself/herself from negative emotions. I pray that he/she will not be controlled by depression, anger, anxiety, jealousy, hopelessness, fear. Specifically, I pray about (area of concern). Deliver him/her from this and all other controlling emotions. Use me as an instrument to restore, deliver and heal him/her. Help me not to be pulled down with him/her in his/her struggles but instead enable me to understand and say life-giving words.
Free him/her to share his/her deepest feelings with me and those who can help. Liberate him/her to cry when he/she needs to and not keep his/her emotions inside. Give him/her the gift of laughter and the ability to find humour in every serious situation.  Teach him/her to take his/her eyes off his/her circumstances and trust in You regardless of his/her feeling. Give him/her patience to possess his/her soul and the ability to take charge of it (Luke 21: 19). Anoint him/her with “the oil of joy” (Isaiah 61:3), refresh him/her with Your Spirit, and set him/her free from negative emotions this day.

Worth Doing

Allocate some time this week to start doing research on communication styles and gender differences. There are a lot of resources in these areas on the internet.

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