Monday, 3 March 2014

What Happened to the Guy I Dated?

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.  Msg

ne of the complaints that I hear with regularity is “He (being her husband) never talks to me, he just grunts.”  The wife’s frustration is usually exacerbated by the fact that prior to getting married she and her now husband could talk for hours on end.

The wife laments, “This is not the man I married.”  Paul Tripp is quick to say, “No this is the man you married, the man you dated was a fake.”

As I prepared to facilitate a session on communications for a pre-marriage class I began to realize how many factors impinge on man’s ability to communicate with his wife.  Don’t underestimate gender differences for starters.  Scientifically speaking women are wired to use both sides of their brain almost interchangeably.  Men tend to be left brain dominant.  Women are far more articulate than men, far more relational than men and use far more words per day than men.

Personality types, family of origin and personal experiences have much to do with how we choose to communicate.

Perhaps you were aware of everything I just said but did you truly recognize how these differences alone would impact your ability to communicate with one another.

The ability to listen is a skill that most of us (particularly men) have not developed very well.  As men, we are so eager to solve the problem, make our point, or control the conversation that we are too busy thinking of our response to listen.

After conducting this class for several years it became apparent that conflict resolution was so coupled to a husband and wife’s ability to communicate that I combined the classes.  Listening is important.  We must seek to understand before we seek to be understood.  I recognize, in part, because of gender differences and personality differences that it becomes more difficult to resolve conflict.

Some of us are conflict avoiders others of us want immediate resolution to the disagreement.  Ironically it seems as though these two individuals marry each other.  This is a recipe for disaster if it isn’t acknowledged early on in the relationship.

Here’s the bottom line.  Whether it be a communication problem or a conflict resolution problem the main cause is self-centeredness.  Yes, the factors mentioned above have a bearing on our starting position, but if we truly seek to become one, as Scripture commands, we will learn to navigate the differences in a spirit of love.

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