Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Communication: Top Ten

Currently my LDS singles ward is holding a special marriage prep class for people 26 years old and older.  Basically it is a class designed to help the old single people figure out what they are doing wrong so they can get married. 
I recognize that outside of Utah being single in your late 20's or early 30's is perfectly normal, but here, we are considered defective.
Despite the semi-offensive implications of this "special needs" marriage class, the content is usually excellent.  On Sunday the topic was Communication.  The always-vibrant Brother Massey gave us his top ten keys to good communication in marriage. I really liked them and wanted to share them here because I think they apply to all relationships.

10 - It's better to be kind than to be right.  Disagreements are healthy from time to time, but it is important to approach them properly.  When both parties are kind, it makes it easier for each person to put pride aside and change their mind if necessary.

9 - Be transparent, be deliberate.  Don't play games.  Don't expect someone to read your mind.  Don't hide your real feelings.  Just be honest and say what you think or feel.

8 - Unplug.  Many marriages now are being challenged by technology.  We are so used to communicating via text and Facebook that often we neglect real meaningful interactions.  Also, don't neglect the people who are most important for the sake of video games.  When you are with your special someone, turn off the techno-gizmo tingy and give them the time they deserve.

7 - Be Vulnerable.  It is impossible to have a deep and meaningful realtionship with someone unless you completely open yourself up to them and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

6 - Don't hold grudges.  This one is self-explanatory.  Nobody wants to live in fear of being reminded of some past offense whenever it suits the other persons agenda.  Not healthy.

5 - No score cards.  At first I thought this was the same as number 6, but it actually deals with who owes whom what.  Just do nice things for each other without keeping tabs or thinking that someone owes somebody something.

4 - First seek to understand before being understood.  I don't fully understand this one and I wish he had gone into more depth with it.  As I understand it, you should be more focused on understanding the other person rather than pushing your own ideas on them.  If both parties are focused on understanding each other first, it will eliminate a lot of miscommunication.

3 - Treat to your spouse like you did when you were dating.  This one is really important to me.  How many couples do you know that criticize each other constantly or just don't seem to like each other much anymore?  I don't want that to happen to me.  This is about continued courtship.  We should always be trying to preserve romance and be our best selves for each other.

2 - Speak with kindness and respect.  Similar to number 3 but more fundamental.  Be kind, be patient, be loving, be complimentary.  Avoid sarcasm, and criticism, and saying things to give offense.  You love this person, so why would you speak badly to them?  I would also say that this includes not complaining about them behind their backs.  There are few things more uncomfortable than being around someone who is constantly complaining about their spouse.  I feel bad for those people.

1 - Listen.  Two ears, one mouth, use accordingly.  Duh.


Robin said...

This is really good- thanks for sharing :)

Kendra said...

that's awesome! we talk about this stuff in my class too. its all very helpful.