“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just another manic Monday...

Yes, I realize it's Tuesday. Monday was manic and well, I did not get my "Marriage Monday" post, posted. So, although it's Tuesday, I'm still going to post what I planned to post on Monday. Does that make sense? Well, if it doesn't stay with me, 'cause the rest of this post will make sense.

As I told you last Monday, I am not going to share with you a couple until next Monday (May 17th). Instead, I was going to share an exercise you could do with your spouse. Do you remember me telling you about my mom's landlord who adored his wife? Well, then you might remember that he said the key to his happy marriage was communication. I don't know about you, but I have heard that a lot. But what does that mean and how do you improve communication with your spouse? This exercise is designed to just do that- strengthen (or improve) communication.

First things first: You must understand the objective of this exercise. That is to change the patterns of communication so you can better show your love to your spouse.

Miracle Script

Each person needs to write a script on how your marriage would function if a miracle happened and your communication with your spouse was perfect. Think of it this way, you wake up one morning and Viola! a miracle just happened and you and your spouse have perfect communication. Now, really think about the specifics for what you would say and what your spouse would say. (I didn't say you wouldn't have to think!). One caution- DON'T focus on how the other person would NOT communicate, i.e. you would not yell at me. Instead, say, "you would talk in a normal voice."

After you both have written your scripts, find a quiet place to sit down with your spouse. Sit close but still able to see eye to eye. Then take turns reading your scripts to each other. After the one person has read the script, explain why this is perfect communication to you. Remember stay away from the negatives such as, "you make me feel bad when you talk to me sometimes" or "you don't listen.” Instead say, "I feel good when you say encouraging words to me like, 'yes, uh, huh, or I understand'. It lets me know you are listening.” Then let the other person share. After both of you have finished reading your scripts, tell each other what you heard the other person say. Check in and make sure you got it right by saying, "Did I get that right that you like it when I say, 'yes, I understand' when we are talking?” Don't leave until you both get it right. When you're done, make a commitment to one another that you will work on incorporating at least one thing from the miracle script in your communication with one another.

Happy Conversing!

Adapted from Worthington, E. L. Jr. (2005). Hope focused marriage counseling: A guide to brief therapy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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