A few years ago, my wife and I hosted a highly-successful marriage seminar that had attendees from several states in the U.S. One of the topics that seemed to really resonate with our guests was the “how do I successfully communicate with my spouse?”
There are tons of books geared towards couple communication, quite honestly there are tons of books about communication in general, but I would like to narrow the “communication gap” by focusing on four simple steps that are easily summarized by the acronym LOSA.
No, that’s not pronunced Loo-za, it’s Lo Sa. Each letter represents a thought that I’ll identify over the course of the next four posts. So stay with me!
In most situations where emotions are involved, one person is determined to make the other see his or her point of view. What begins with a misunderstanding may end in a lawsuit! We need to be sure that we are actually willing to listen to both what is said and what is not said by the other party.
What I mean is that instead of lambasting the other person with your point of view, first listen with an open ear (and hopefully an open mind) to what he or she is trying to express. Only interrupt if you need to get clarification on a particular point that was made.
As humans we all love to be heard but we are often reluctant to hear what others have to say. If you wish to be a successful communicator that needs to change. The Bible is full of awesome communication strategies, one of which is found in James 1:19b.
“…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” KJV
It’s easy to be slow to hear, quick to speak and quick to anger but this approach destroys communication.
Acknowledging that the other party may be right does not weaken your position but it may help you grow as a person. For example:if your husband feels that you focus more on your children then on him, don’t criticize him ladies. Rather, listen to what he has to say and then develop a plan together to which you both are committed.
If your wife feels like the romance in your relationship has dwindled down, don’t cut her off with a litany of angry abuse gentlemen. It’s far better to actually consider that she may notice something that you have overlooked.
Think Why not What:
Finally, listening should not only include what has been said but also why it was said. There is a reason for everything that we do and say but often we quickly focus on what the other person is saying (especially hurtful comments) instead of reflecting on why he or she has made such a comment.
By focusing on the whys instead of the whats we open ourselves to growth. Simply asking “why do you feel this way?” and genuinely being willing to listen can diffuse the situation and allow both parties to strengthen the relationship. This applies not only to marriages but also work relationships and even friendships.
Join me next Weds for a closer look at LOSA.
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