Forever February: 2 Tested and Approved Marriage Tips

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! I thought I'd use today (the last day of Forever February) to share with you the two best lessons I've learned regarding marriage:

1. The hubs and I are ONE

Once the hubs and I said, "I do." we were no longer two, but one. We both do what is best for us and our family, not us individually. I try to always think the best of him and he does the same for me. And even though I am a very small part of Fish Fotography, he never once uses "I" but always "we." I love that he does that.

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined in marriage, let no man separate. Matthew19:6

Please don't miss this. This technique makes communication so much easier. Mechanical at first, but that's what's so great about it. It slows things down. Here's how:

When you are communicating with your spouse, significant other or friend and it's a touchy subject, heated or has the potential to go bad... STOP! Grab your conch. What???? You know, an item that signifies you are the one speaking - you have the floor. This can be anything: your wedding rings, a stuffed animal, a key, your bible, a pillow...anything.

(when we first started, we used our rings or a stuffed animal)

The "Conch" - whoever has the "conch" has the floor. They are the Speaker.

Speaker - your job is to communicate using short statements that express your needs, desires, etc. This is not your opportunity to share everything that ticks you off about the listener. (Remember, love holds no record of wrongs done.) 
Listener - your job is to listen to the speaker and repeat back what you heard the speaker say. There are no interruptions. You don't get to "defend" yourself or say, "yeah but..." You will get your turn. Right now, your job is to listen.

Speaker, remember to be brief. Allow the listener to repeat back what they heard you say. Once they do, you either repeat what you just said (chances are, they've misheard you) or you move on in your communication. You go back and forth like this until the speaker feels that they have been heard and understood. 

Next, you flip-flop. Listener, you get the "conch", sharing what's on your heart and Speaker, it is now your job to listen. 

Yes, you will feel like a robot. Yes, you will think it's silly and probably prefer not to do it. Yes, you may even laugh. But if you stick to it - YOU WILL BE HEARD - clearly too. I promise you, this is the best way to communicate and break the language barrier. Eventually it becomes second nature and the communication just becomes natural and easy-er. 

Much of what I have shared in Forever February is from the ReEngage curriculum at my church, Watermark Community Church. The hubs and I have led several couples through this program with much success and miracles at every turn. If you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and are struggling in your marriage (or know someone who is) or just want a stronger marriage, please check out ReEngage.

Happy Happy Valentine's Day. Remember, whether you are married or not, you are loved! xo
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