Monday, 5 August 2013

The Tough Conversation

Kira Newman of the Honesty Experiment wrote an informative blog addressing the best approach to having a difficult conversation with your spouse and to do so in a way that was not hurtful.

As someone who has spent much of his adult life avoiding difficult conversations when it came to my personal life I really appreciate Kira’s helpful suggestions.  However as a Christian I am learning that I have an obligation to address those areas of my spouse’s life where God is calling me to be His messenger.  Verses 26 and 27 in Ephesians 5 describes how Christ died in order to present His bride as being “without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  Verse 28 tells husbands that they are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loves His bride the Church. 

In this well known passage on marriage the “bride of Christ” refers to mankind.  Thus from a Biblical standpoint we are to be partners with God in our spouse’s sanctification process.  Sanctification is the name given to that process of becoming more holy, more like the Son, that begins at our new birth and continues on until we die.  Here are Kira’s six recommendations:

1.    Pick the right time, i.e. not when they are tired or stressed out or for some other reason less likely to want to listen to your feedback.

2.    Explain (and examine) your motivation.  If in reality your motivation for delivering the feedback to your spouse is to make your life better, to address one of your needs or expectations then the talk won’t go well.  If the true purpose of your disclosure is to help them to grow spiritually, to become more the person that God would have them be then you are His emissary.

3.    Choose your language (carefully).  Your spouse must hear your heart.  They must hear that you find it difficult to give feedback partially because you know that you need to grow in many areas of your own life.    Use “I” messages, i.e. “I suspect you have been so busy lately that you have not spent time in God’s Word.  I would encourage you to spend 10 minutes a day with Him, it might lighten your burdens.”  Instead of “The reason you are always so grumpy lately is that you have not been having your quiet time with God.” 

  4.    Focus on solutions not problems.  In the above example I might say, “I’d be willing to help get breakfast on the table in the morning so you could use that time for your quiet time unless you have a better idea.”

  5.    Ask for honesty in return.  Let your spouse know that you are asking them to help you in your sanctification process as well.  You might set aside time every week or two to share   at least one thing the other could do to grow.

 

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