One evening a man and his wife called another couple to see what they were doing. “Oh,” said the other wife, “we’re just drinking coffee and talking.” As she hung up the phone, she demanded, “Why don’t we ever do that?
They’re just drinking coffee and talking.” Her husband said, “So make a pot of coffee.”
They sat with their freshly brewed coffee, just staring at each other in silence. “Well, call them back,” he directed, “and find out what they’re talking about.”
Communication is tough. Challenging. Tricky. Sometimes we miss the what the other person really wants!
This week I’m in a meeting in Baytown Texas presenting a series called HOME IMPROVEMENT. Last night we talked about “Secrets to a Satisfying Marriage.” One of those is communication. Let me briefly bullet some suggestions that will help improve your family communication. Read the referenced scripture. Make personal application. Share these with your family and discuss how each of you can improve.
◆Learn to really listen. Don’t interrupt. Don’t second guess. Don’t judge motives. Just focus on your loved one and listen with your ears and your heart. (James 1:19)
◆Set aside some time for undivided attention. While a lot of family communication is spontaneous, research has shown that strong families intentionally carve out time to talk about their day, share their feelings and discuss their hopes, dreams and fears (Eph 5:16-17)
◆Be transparent. Ephesians 4:16 admonishes us to “speak the truth in love.” Truth is transparent. Open. Illuminated by light. Honest communication is open and transparent.
◆ Be sensitive to the feelings of others. Men and women are typically different in their expressiveness. Men tend to communicate from the head and women from the heart. (1 Pet. 3:7)
◆Deal with communication issues. Don’t ignore them. Deal with them as quickly as possible (Eph 4:26). Deal with one issue at a time. Lovingly communicate what the issue really is. Then work together to solve the problem.
◆Establish rituals, traditions and values that foster communication. (Prov 13:22). Play to the strengths of your family. Have special family nights. Date night. Vacations. Meals on birthdays. Develop your own unique traditions that you anticipate and talk about.
◆Be positive in your outlook. Sure, bad things happen. Problems occur. And sin can and does invade our hearts and homes. But be positive in your attitude and approach to solving your family problems. If you focus too much on a small problem area, it will seem worse than it really is. (Eph 4:32)
◆ See things through the eyes of a kid. If you’re a parent, remember what it was like to be young. What seems trivial to us now was important when we were kids and is important to our children. Show that you care. (Col. 3:21)
◆Communicate with God and let God communicate with you. In other words–pray! Read the Bible. Make it a part of your family life. A lot of communication issues can be overcome and resolved when our spiritual commitments are valued, and our love for God shared. (Deut. 6:4-6).
Good communication builds and bonds. It creates a sense of belonging. It’s the lifeblood of your family. Good communication enhances your relationships. But don’t call another couple to find out what they’re talking about! Dig deep into your relationship and you will find plenty of things to discuss.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman