If your partner has suggested counseling in the past, and you just haven’t got around to it yet, this is a great way to say I love you!
A Biblically-Sound, Research-Based Approach
At OC Christian Couples, we understand your commitment to your faith and to your relationship, and we’re here to help. Our programs and services are based on sound biblical principles and scientific research to help you develop the healthy relationship that God intends for you to have.
Choosing the Right Therapist is Important to You Both!
Finding the right therapist could save you a lot of time and money and frustration! Both you and your partner need to feel comfortable with your choice, so we offer a free consultation to help insure you’re on the same page.
And They Lived Happily Ever After!Share on Facebook
Filed under: Biblical Principles, Communication, Relationship Patterns
Nicole had frequently complained that she and Sean were not as close as she would like them to be. She was constantly asking Sean for his input, but he seemed to withdraw even more. She was doing everything she could think of to show interest in him.
However, without realizing what she was actually doing, she had created some bad habits. For example, she always went on with whatever she was doing whenever Sean spoke. And before he’d even finished a thought, Nicole would immediately start giving her own input, which was often negative and uninviting. It was though she were living in her own world, and there wasn’t really any room for Sean or his ideas. Verbally, she said she wanted to know him. Nonverbally, she said she didn’t!
After reading Dr. Covey’s ideas about interpersonal relationships, Nicole decided to pay attention to her own behavior instead of worrying about how little Sean was talking. She decided that the next time he shared a thought, she would wait a minute. Instead of instantly chiming in with her ideas, she took an interest in what he was saying. She wanted to communicate — without words — that she was interested in him.
He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame. ~ Psalm 18:13 (NIV)
Answering before listening
is both stupid and rude. ~ Psalm 18:13 (The Message)
Trying out Nicole’s new approach is simple, like the railroad crossing sign: Stop, Look, Listen
Research shows that about 80% of communication is nonverbal.
How are your nonverbal communications?
Do you communicate sincere interest in your partner?Share on Facebook
Sean was always a quiet guy, and that was one of the things about him that Nicole found irresistibly attractive. But after they’d been together for a while, she wanted more from him. Often during a silence, Nicole would ask him what he was thinking. He never gave her an answer.
Then she began begging him to talk to her. He was hesitant at first, but at her encouragement, he began to open up. He offered up two or three sentences, and Nicole got excited about getting closer. In her enthusiasm, she’d try to get more information from him. Then all of a sudden — at least it seemed to be sudden — Sean quit sharing. He was more withdrawn than ever, and Nicole was really confused. She kept asking him what was wrong, and he kept refusing to talk about it. He’d just shrug his shoulders and mumble, “Nothing’s wrong.”
Sean had a very different experience of their relationship. He really liked Nicole. When they first met he loved her energy — and her chatter. She was always ready to fill the silence, so he didn’t have to worry about what to say.
After they’d been together for a while, he wanted to tell her more about himself, but felt he could hardly get a word in edgewise. Nicole kept telling him she wanted to know what he was thinking, but it didn’t seem like that to Sean. As soon as he would get a word out, Nicole would begin her critique. Nothing he said was right. It seemed like everything he said set her off in one way or another. So he gave up. He began dreading their time together and started thinking about breaking off the relationship.
Fortunately, Nicole was studying the dynamics of interpersonal communication in one of her classes at the university and came across this statement from Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:
If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication. (p. 237)
Nicole realized that she — like most people — wasn’t listening with the “intent to understand,” but had been listening with the “intent to reply.” She hadn’t been trying to gain a deeper understanding of him. She filtered everything he said through her own experience, reading her autobiography into his life. As soon as Sean had started talking, she had already begun formulating a response. She hadn’t given him space to be in the relationship. She didn’t understand him because she wasn’t listening. She had been way too busy formulating her reply.
What did Nicole do to become a more inviting listener and encourage Sean to share more instead of less?Share on Facebook
Filed under: Biblical Principles, Quizzes, Relationship Patterns
We all have them in our life: People we can’t trust. People who just don’t get us. They tell us they want to know what we’re thinking. They may encourage us — even beg us — to talk, saying they really want to know what’s behind our silence. Then when we do start sharing, they immediately begin to criticize, judge, put down, or ignore some of our thoughts and feelings. In short, they’re not Safe People.
Your thoughts and feelings are precious, sacred. They belong to you and are part of who you are. And they deserve respect. Cherish them. Jesus put it this way,
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” ~ Matthew 7:6
So do you avoid telling your partner what you really think or feel? Nearly half of those who have taken the Couples Quiz answered “yes” to this question. Was your partner one of them?
Next time, we’ll talk about what to do when someone you love says something you disagree with.Share on Facebook
The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14
- Draws us closer to God. (See Matthew 22:37-38.)
- Draws us closer to others. (See Matthew 22:39.)
- Helps us become the real person God created us to be. (See Ephesians 2:10.)
The following are descriptions of “Safe People” (p. 144):
- A person who accepts me just as I am.
- A person who loves me no matter how I am bing or what I do.
- A person whose influence develops my ability to love and be responsible.
- Someone who creates love and good works within me.
- Someone who gives me an opportunity to grow.
- Someone who increases love within me.
- Someone I can be myself around.
- Someone who allows me to be on the outside what I am on the inside.
- Someone who helps me to deny myself for others.
- Someone who allows me to become the me that God intended.
- Someone who helps me become the me God sees in me.
- Someone whose life touches mine and leaves me the better for it.
- Someone who touches my life and draws me closer to who God created me to be.
- Someone who helps me be like Christ.
- Someone who helps me to love others more.
Of course, Jesus is the best example of a “safe person.” He is the perfect example of grace and truth (John 1:14) that we all need to give and receive in a safe relationship.
- The word grace “implies unconditional love and acceptance with no condemnation.” It communicates “that you are accepted just like you are and that you will not be shamed or incur wrath for whatever you are experiencing” (p. 145).
- The word truth means “we can speak the truth to one another, confronting each other as needed. Grace and the absence of condemnation allow us to do this with less fear than would occur in a condemning relationship” (p. 146)
Do you offer daily grace (unmerited favor) to your partner? Do you speak the truth about your feelings to your partner without condemning him or her? Read more about why we need to have and be safe people in Safe People: How to find relationships that are good for you and avoid those that aren’t!Share on Facebook