Issues and Answers

Marital Communication

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Duane Anderson, Nancy Anderson


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000375

00:31 Hi, I'm Shelley Quinn and this is Issues and Answers.
00:33 We are so glad that you can join us today.
00:35 We are going to be discussing communication in marriage
00:40 and I wanted to share the scripture with you. I
00:42 like this scripture, Ephesians 4:29 and the Bible says,
00:46 Do not let any unwholesome talk come
00:50 out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building
00:55 others up according to their needs,
00:57 that it may benefit those who listen. Boy,
01:01 if we could remember that in marriage not to let
01:04 anything come out of her mouth that might tear
01:06 or make down, our marriages would be so much happier.
01:10 And joining us today are some Communication Experts
01:13 Duane and Nancy Andersen. Just partly your experts
01:17 from experience. Yeah, being human beings,
01:21 learning the hard way. Yes and Duane, you have your
01:24 Masters Degree in Counseling, yes
01:26 and guidance you are also a Pastor for 30 years
01:30 and now you and your wife Nancy who is a registered
01:33 nurse have a ministry called Care Consultants.
01:37 What is the acronym Care stand for?
01:41 Care and Renewal Education. Okay and you do
01:45 different seminars, you have, you go to churches,
01:50 you have kind of, the camps or retreats.
01:53 We have groups in our home at times to,
01:57 have grief and loss support groups. We do outreach
02:00 for our church and community, our
02:04 church members within our Adventist areas.
02:07 Marriage renewals seminars and I know you teach a
02:10 lot on communication. So you've been with us before,
02:14 we've talked about communication.
02:15 I thought it would be great to talk about communication
02:18 in marriage and let me set you up by saying this.
02:20 You know when we are dating it seems that
02:24 we have so much time for communicating,
02:28 this process of discovery if you will,
02:31 but then I know that there are lot of women
02:34 in particular who feel that they've gone through
02:37 this courtship if you will and the man has been so
02:42 communicative and suddenly when they marry,
02:45 the communication seems to be left at the altar,
02:50 so what I like to talk about today are some of the
02:54 problems in communication and the stages
02:56 that couples go through in communication?
03:00 Would you like me to share some of the stages?
03:04 I surely would. Okay, when you first get married of
03:08 course like you were just saying before you get married
03:12 you got your best foot forward and so you don't
03:14 really get to know the person, it seems like until
03:18 you get married and the you are not married
03:20 for too long before you're like this, this is
03:22 not that person I married, you know they're like fat
03:24 and so all of sudden you're thinking, man I got
03:26 betrayed here you know and who is this person
03:29 I married you know and then you have to go through
03:31 the process of getting to know the real person
03:34 and you can do that with a lot of conflict or you can
03:37 do it with some good communication skills
03:40 and make it a very, very profitable opportunity
03:43 to get to know each other at a deeper level
03:47 and again make the allowances for each person
03:50 to be an individual, be their own person. Okay.
03:53 Instead of feeling that you have to control
03:54 the other person, somehow you are responsible
03:58 for all of their behavior or something like that
04:01 you know. Women say well you know, the man is,
04:07 my spouse is such a spender you know we're gonna
04:11 go bankrupt. Well if you go bankrupt you will learn
04:15 something from that, then you have got the results
04:17 of the bankrupt. Sometimes you have something to
04:20 plan on their face. You know you can make the appeal
04:23 to them and that's what you should do and try and
04:26 communicate it first, but I mean if worst comes
04:29 to worst. That would be the final analysis,
04:31 but its not worth ruining your relationship
04:34 and what's more important to you, your relationship
04:37 or being bankrupt. Now, if you can avoid being
04:41 bankrupt, sure you should try and do it.
04:45 But if worst comes to worst, put your priorities
04:47 straight first. Wow! That was, that's a tough one there.
04:50 Yeah, it is and so money is a problem and creates
04:54 communication difficulties in the marriage,
04:57 is that right? Oh absolutely. So would you then,
05:00 if you are counseling someone, premarital
05:03 counseling, you know that JD and I always discuss
05:07 money with the couple. You know their
05:09 spending habits, these are things that you know I want
05:13 to encourage you, if you are thinking about getting
05:15 married or if you have a child or a grandchild that's
05:18 about ready to get married. I would first encourage
05:21 you to have and go to a pastor and go through
05:24 some premarital counseling, but I would also
05:26 encourage you to mak certain that they discuss
05:29 how they're going to handle the money and what
05:32 you know understand the different spending habits
05:34 of one another and come to some agreements before
05:37 you marry, because if you just get married and
05:39 suddenly you are worried about bankruptcy,
05:40 that's a big problems. Oh exactly. But what are some
05:43 of the other than the challenge of really knowing
05:47 the real person. What are, are there any other challenges
05:50 say before the couple has children. What are,
05:55 are there any of the challenges other than the
05:57 true discovery of one another and money issues.
06:00 What are some of the other communication problems
06:03 that young couples have? I think arguing about things
06:06 and instead of hearing each other out, they might
06:11 try to convince each other that their position
06:13 is correct. The way I see things is correct and my wife
06:16 came up with a really interesting way of dealing
06:19 with this at the beginning of our marriage.
06:21 Would you like to share that?
06:22 Oh specially, spiders on the wall thing.
06:25 Oh about the spider on the wall. Yes we have,
06:29 what when you think about being married you have
06:33 lived your life as an individual either under your
06:37 parents jurisdiction or under their supervision of
06:40 whatever, or on your own for a period of time
06:42 and now you're intimately connected with another human
06:45 being and you are bound have conflict,
06:47 because everything that you do, you do according
06:51 to your routine or your needs and it can conflict
06:55 with someone else's needs or their routines or whatever.
06:58 So conflict is inevitable. And whose gonna win,
07:03 it doesn't have to be a win-win situation. Right.
07:07 It needs to be agreeable, mutually respectful and
07:12 a compromise with some give and take and as a nurse
07:17 in different areas that I have worked in and I worked
07:19 with people that have been under the influence
07:21 of alcohol to the point where they're actually
07:23 hallucinating and I have worked with in mental
07:27 health field too with kids that have been in a psychotic
07:32 episode of teenagers that have been in a psychosis
07:36 where the reality is not real, but they are seeing things,
07:41 hearing things. They are being impacted by things
07:44 from their brain, but it's not really there and so
07:50 when you approach a person like that and they're so
07:54 stressed out, because they're fearful.
07:56 There are spiders on the wall or they're seeing faces
07:58 or they're hearing these voices and they are just
08:00 you know fearing for their life literally.
08:02 You have to be very carefully in the way you deal
08:06 with them. In the way you speak with them and so
08:08 forth, even though you know there is nothing there.
08:11 There is no spiders on the wall. There is absolutely
08:13 nothing, they are in a safe, they're in a good sound
08:16 protected environment, but in their mind they're not
08:19 and so we decided that okay if I have an issue that
08:25 is so important to me I just say its my spider
08:27 on the wall and then he knows okay, that's really
08:31 important for you at this time whatever
08:33 it is I'll back off. Something that I can negotiate
08:36 with you about something that I can compromise will
08:38 go your way. So essentially if I'm understanding you,
08:42 what you're saying is that when something is so
08:45 important that maybe you might Duane recognize
08:49 that her perceptions a little distorted and it certainly
08:53 doesn't fit your reality. You don't see this as being
08:55 a real thing or something you should be fear.
08:58 She should be fearful of, but if this is that important
09:03 to her you are going to say alright that's your
09:06 spider on the wall. Right. I'm going to back off,
09:08 and we're going to kind of have a truce here.
09:11 We are gonna wait and eventually you may try
09:13 to communicate in such a way to prove
09:15 to her this is something else or?
09:18 And yet still be supportive of her. Okay.
09:20 Instead of being passive aggressive or any other type
09:25 of that. I mean yours was probably, instead of being
09:27 you know angry or arguing about it,
09:29 just you know we agree or disagree kind of thing
09:32 you know, but yeah still support the person and
09:35 whatever. Explain passive aggressive for some of
09:38 our viewers. they may know what you're talking about.
09:41 Okay, just not wanting to cooperate like for an
09:43 example okay. Lets say we are gonna both go to town
09:46 in the same car and I just drag my feet.
09:49 I just take my time on purpose just to make her angry.
09:54 You know that's like fighting quietly behind the scenes
09:57 type of thing. Okay. Compared to the other type
09:59 person that comes right out and attacks,
10:00 the aggressive aggressive, he screams and throws
10:03 things you know and very often that's the one partner
10:06 is the one why they call them the skunk and the turtle.
10:08 Right. You know you got that. person who's very
10:11 extrovert and yell and scream and throwing things
10:13 and the other person who fights the other way,
10:15 hiding behind the things and won't communicate
10:17 and runs and hides. I like that, the skunk and
10:21 the turtle. Skunks making a stink and the turtle
10:23 retreats. Yeah, goes in the shell. Right. The turtle,
10:26 when the turtle, the energy builds up so much
10:29 that turtle will come out and take a snap,
10:31 we got a snapping turtle right. So yeah,
10:34 so they're good, now, feeling stressed. Right,
10:37 so when a couple that you are working through
10:41 developing these communication skills,
10:45 learning how to communicate to a deeper level,
10:48 we did some programs about that earlier.
10:49 Would like to give just a one minute summary
10:52 of some of those communication skills. We can.
10:55 Yeah and even profess it by saying if the man can
10:59 give his spouse an opportunity to share how she
11:04 feels over a period of time without trying to jump right
11:08 in and solve it. I mean if the wound requests a solution
11:11 straight away then of course yeah we will come
11:13 up with the solution, but a lot of these things
11:16 can solve themselves just by using the skills of
11:20 communication by saying okay let me see if I understand
11:22 you correctly, you are saying that is that correct.
11:25 So go off of your own agenda off of your type of
11:30 thinking and prospective on the thing and focus
11:33 completely on the other person. Listening,
11:35 listening yeah, active listening.
11:37 Active listening where you're saying,
11:39 let me see if I understand you correctly.
11:40 Is this, is this what you're saying.
11:42 And the definition of active listening is to be able
11:45 to paraphrase what someone has said and kind
11:48 of get back to them the main key points of the context
11:52 or content. Exactly. Alright. And then check on their
11:55 feeling, you now, because if you do notice some
11:57 type of a feeling as we've mentioned in some
11:59 of our other programs, rising within yourselves.
12:02 There's a good chance that the other person
12:03 is feeling that too. Let them know that it's a possibility
12:06 that you have identified that someone of you are feeling
12:08 a little anxious or a little. So if a man is noticing that
12:11 his wife is suddenly giving him the silent treatment,
12:14 yeah and he noticed that you seem a little quiet here.
12:18 Alright. Are you upset with me or was I not sensitive
12:22 or whatever. Now if a wife comes to a man
12:25 and says to him. You're so insensitive you do,
12:28 how can a man defuse that situation?
12:32 Say, can you give me a specific reason,
12:36 because if they say you're insensitive. Insensitive
12:38 about what? Can you be specific about what
12:41 you're talking about? In other words you give them
12:44 the opportunity to go ahead and explain and explore
12:46 this situation with them without judging him,
12:49 criticizing, condemning them, calling them names.
12:52 And then another key that you had given us a
12:55 tool before is sometimes when somebody is really angry
12:58 and you're trying to defuse it. You call it fogging and
13:00 you say you know maybe I am insensitive sometimes
13:03 don't mean to be, but can be. Alright. Okay.
13:05 Yeah and then yeah, can you give me some examples
13:08 and just to describe the fog type of situation.
13:11 If you've ever driven in fog. I mean there is fog bank
13:14 and you go into this fog bank and its yeah, it's
13:17 a little hard to see where you are going and stuff,
13:20 but you know if you're careful and you stick with
13:22 the chances are you gonna come out okay. And the same
13:25 thing with the communication, okay there is tense
13:27 situation here. There is accusations coming out.
13:30 Its true, I'm not always as sensitive as I should be.
13:34 And can you give me some examples where I
13:36 can improve. So in another words you join that the
13:40 person to lets work together then to solve this.
13:44 And they're gonna come out a lot better that
13:46 way. Okay. So lets we're gonna kind of,
13:49 lets move through these stages and then
13:51 we'll comeback and talk about some generalities,
13:54 so a young couple as they're learning how to communicate
13:58 without letting arguments escalate, they're learning
14:02 how to agree to disagree when there's spiders
14:06 on the wall and learning these various communication
14:09 skills where they're sensing and picking up the feelings
14:13 of their partner. Now lets say their Mo Jo is going,
14:19 and everything is going well. We bring a baby into this,
14:23 everything changes, now what are some of the
14:27 communication problems. You know I really feel
14:30 and the Bible backs up this up, the man needs to takes
14:32 the lead in this. Because the one to begin with is going
14:37 to be totally exhausted and man is gonna we trust
14:39 help out with the baby in the middle of the night
14:42 and so forth, so they're both gonna be exhausted,
14:44 but still that stress if they can understand that's going
14:49 to come in a you know prepare for it ahead of time
14:52 particularly ways to defuse situation as we've talked
14:58 about you know let me see if I understand you
15:00 correctly and if the man can take the lead in just like
15:03 Christ did with his church and so the man does this with
15:08 his wife and that gives her an opportunity to let off some
15:14 stream to, so I'm sorry Duane, take the lead in?
15:18 Take the lead in the communication, okay. And
15:22 being the individual in the marriage who will do the
15:27 listening to start with. Okay. I mean we're trust thing
15:30 his wife is going to as well, but certainly if he can
15:34 that's gonna take a lot of stress off the new
15:37 child coming along and because the woman
15:40 is so exhausted from dealing with the child more
15:45 than the man would be. And Nancy, what are the,
15:48 I mean when a couple has children,
15:50 I mean the whole dynamics of the relationship
15:52 change doesn't it. What are some of the challenges?
15:54 Well, you're focused so much on that infant
15:57 or other children you know they're completely dependent
16:01 and so you are 24/7 taking care of their needs,
16:06 so you can minimize or ignore your own needs sometimes
16:10 and certainly the needs of your spouse are left and
16:13 it's important to recognize that you need to make
16:17 time for yourself and for your spouse whether it's by,
16:21 you know getting somebody to help you with
16:24 the child care, calling on a relative,
16:26 a friend to church, someone that you can trust.
16:28 Just even for short periods of time, even if it's just
16:30 after the kids go to bed or whatever,
16:33 you have a little bit of time where you can sit down
16:35 and agree. You know to talk so much of what we have
16:40 to do is share information about what needs to be
16:45 done here or disappointment or we got to get the kids
16:47 to the doctor or you know we have to get the groceries
16:50 done and it's just survival. Its like survival mode.
16:55 So, you tend to suppress your needs and do whatever
16:59 has to be done. You need to take time with your spouse
17:03 to set aside some time just to you know talk,
17:07 if you can't get out, go on the back porch,
17:09 go on the front porch, even go sit in the car and,
17:12 it's easy, roll the windows down on yourselves.
17:14 Roll the windows and just visit preferably in a nicer
17:18 environment than your car, but some place where
17:21 you can agree to just check up how you're doing,
17:26 how are things going, what's happening today.
17:27 What was you know when if you've been home,
17:31 especially if you're staying home with your kids or
17:33 if you're a working mom and your husband is working.
17:36 You are filled with all the things that are going on
17:38 at work and then you are filled with all the needs
17:42 of that of the home. Somebody has to take that
17:45 initiative and say, okay, how are you doing?
17:46 How are handling all this today? What's going on?
17:49 And what you unload and if you are more keen
17:54 on the communication process, you may have to take
17:55 that role with your spouse, with your husband and let
17:59 him unload a little bit and then hopefully you can
18:03 learn together, that's why taking a class,
18:05 taking a course, reading a book on communication
18:09 is so helpful, because these are not really behaviors.
18:13 We don't know this inherently,
18:15 we don't learn these usually from the people
18:18 that we live within our environment.
18:20 It's something that we have to learn.
18:21 And I'm sure that couples can become,
18:23 particularly young couples that are working with little
18:28 children the demands of our very hustle-bustle type
18:33 of lifestyle can be so overwhelming that you know
18:39 I see sometimes couples are dismissive with one another.
18:43 Somebody says something and they're too tired
18:46 and it's almost they use what we call blocking statements.
18:50 They don't really want to get into that conversation.
18:52 What is the danger of not addressing the emotional
18:58 needs of your spouse for young couples?
19:00 Yes, you definitely have to keep in close touch,
19:03 because things start to build, build, build and then
19:06 its hard to know where the issue really is.
19:08 I mean there might be a small little issue that crops
19:11 up and it's blown all out of proportion. Well, how did
19:14 that thing get started, we've got to go back sometimes
19:17 and find out you know how long has this thing been
19:19 building up for. Okay, so yeah, if you can keep in touch
19:22 completely. Now throughout the years my wife
19:26 and I have found that taking a walk in the evening
19:29 and of course if the children are small, you've got your,
19:31 with the nice strollers that they've got and these
19:34 look a lot nicer than we used to have,
19:36 that you can still get out there and take that walk
19:38 and talk while you're walking.
19:40 That's we got our exercise in, we got our communication in,
19:44 we went on an outing with the kids,
19:46 you know there's a lot of good things happened there.
19:49 And I'm sure that with new children that finance
19:53 is probably are adding extra stress.
19:56 How do couples who are and right now with the economic
20:02 condition of the United States and I know that there
20:06 is other, many other nations and countries
20:08 that have been affected by this.
20:10 How do couples avoid arguing over money?
20:16 Yeah, well each individual needs to have something
20:20 that they can call their own, you know that's difficult
20:24 to make that happen, because sometimes there is nothing
20:26 left after you buy all the necessities and if that's
20:30 the case then you're gonna have to live with it unless
20:33 you can develop some type of a little project where
20:36 you can put a few coins aside or something and then
20:38 treat yourself sometimes something like that,
20:41 but it's got to be agreed upon between the two of you,
20:43 because if somebody takes off on their own to do
20:46 something and sneakingly hides money away,
20:49 of course that's just gonna go.
20:50 Okay so and I hear you saying that if you have
20:54 agreed on this, you're saying have a budget that you
20:56 both agreed on, you know what your bills are,
20:59 budget you money and then if there's anything
21:01 that anyway that you can give a little allowance
21:04 to each other. So that you have a little bit of spending
21:07 independence. Exactly, andif you can't do that
21:11 then start saving up for that little rainy day,
21:15 you know, yeah, alright.
21:16 And you know so often nowadays at least in the area
21:21 that we live, I don't know about the other parts of the
21:23 country but the thrift shops now are,
21:25 there's closing, they're brand new.
21:28 Brand new and they're just like a quarter of the price
21:32 of being in a regular store, so sometimes just finding
21:35 a little ways like this to save money and work
21:38 together and come up with ideas, go online,
21:40 find out you know keep on clipping whatever
21:44 takes your fancy if it works. But when you have a,
21:47 lets say that we have a couple here who one has
21:51 very different spending habits and other and won't
21:54 reign them in what would you recommend
21:56 at that point in time? Yeah, you've got to sit
21:58 down and make an agreement and if you can't then
22:00 you have to get a third party to help you.
22:02 Make some agreements on this and stick with it
22:05 and go back and, then, so get some kind of a counseling
22:10 or a financial councilor or somebody that's gonna sit
22:14 with you. Yes, and be the arbitrator if you're saying
22:17 this is how it's going to be helpful. Exactly,
22:19 because there is no end to the amount of arguments
22:21 that the two of them could get in when they have totally
22:24 different spending habits. One wants to keep a budget,
22:26 and one doesn't. One says you don't need
22:28 a budget I'm just going to spend everything you know,
22:30 everything's gonna be fine. And it's not going to be fine.
22:33 Okay, so yeah definitely. Alright, so lets take this a
22:37 little bit to be beyond. We have got the new couples
22:40 and their communication challenges.
22:45 We've got and you know I don't mean to be insensitive,
22:48 but I want to, I think we have adults, I hope
22:52 this won't offend anyone. But even the physical
22:55 intimacy can be an area in which couples have problems
23:00 in communicating. Is that correct? Oh absolutely.
23:02 So they need to learn how to be open and honest
23:06 in asking these leading questions to facilitate a
23:12 more pleasant experience in that area as well.
23:15 Yeah, instead of the passive aggressive thing
23:17 you know and or the blocking you know with the,
23:21 I've got a headache that's a good blocker. Yeah,
23:23 instead of actually talking this out and negotiating
23:28 it out and coming to an agreement together,
23:30 because once you plan something out together
23:33 and you know they can look forward to a time when
23:37 you know it's gonna workout for both of them.
23:39 Okay. Communication again. Communication,
23:42 yeah and learning you know communication,
23:44 I'm understanding that the number one thing listening
23:48 is the best skill. Right, right. Now there is that point
23:53 that you have learn to express your own feelings,
23:56 that direct expression times. So know the next stage
24:00 in the marriage is what? Alright, we've got the
24:04 children and they're growing up and of course the expenses
24:07 just seem to keep increasing as they go on to college
24:10 and so forth and again yeah all the way through
24:13 and you know seminars and education on the development
24:18 of the children is to what to expect, what's normal what
24:22 isn't, what would a healthy family be, there needs to be
24:26 constant learning on these types of things and of course
24:29 there's a wealth of information on the Internet,
24:32 libraries whatever to find out you know how should
24:37 we relate together about a situation with child instead
24:41 of being in conflict. I mean if this is enormous change,
24:45 so we're talking about the actual guiding principles
24:48 for rearing your child or for disciplining a child that
24:51 can be a communication problem
24:53 between parents as well. Oh yes, yes and the
24:55 communication skills so important in working
24:58 with your children to able to make it a joy to have
25:02 children instead of a chore. Okay. Sore chore.
25:05 You were gonna say something?
25:07 Well I really think that's a excellent point that
25:10 you've brought up about. When you, learning doesn't stop
25:15 when you finish high school or college,
25:18 you need to continue learning new things and that gives
25:23 you more information to share. It gives you more common
25:26 ground, you can take courses together whether
25:29 they be in a formal setting or an informal setting
25:31 and its just, it's wonderful when you're learning
25:36 things together. Sharing, talking bringing up ideas,
25:39 giving yourself opportunity to express, exactly,
25:42 exploring new areas that you wouldn't have thought
25:46 of before. Gives you a common a bounding experience,
25:50 so it can be something that's directly related to what's
25:53 going on in your family at this point in your life
25:56 or it could be something of mutual interest,
25:59 you know that's computers or technology or something.
26:04 Let me be very specification case in point the two of you,
26:07 how old were you? Here you are, a Pastor,
26:10 Councilor, Educator. How old were you when you first
26:13 took the communication skills classes.
26:16 Well it probably wasn't until about 15 years after
26:18 our marriage. Okay, so for 15 years you were imploring
26:23 all of communication skills, now you took the classes
26:27 initially, that you joined in and also or
26:30 did you take them together. Yes, we did take that class
26:34 together and it was like the lights went on,
26:36 because he was able to listen to my insecurities
26:41 and my fears about our finances or about decisions
26:43 and even when our circumstances didn't change
26:46 significantly. We were able to communicate much better
26:49 and I felt so much more comfortable in relationship.
26:54 I could understand him better and his needs
26:57 and it's just made a great difference in our lives.
26:59 And you felt understood, is that correct.
27:02 Yes, very much so, so that comes back to something
27:05 I believe I said earlier in an earlier program that
27:08 people's greatest need is to feel understood. For sure.
27:13 You know I cannot believe our time is all gone,
27:16 because I know you all can talk on this for quite
27:18 some time, but Duane and Nancy, we just appreciate
27:22 so much you coming here today and thank you
27:25 for this wonderful. Absolutely.
27:28 For those of you at home, if you're married or thinking
27:33 about getting married, what you want to do is really think
27:36 about going to a communication skills course.
27:38 Don't wait 15 years like Duane and Nancy Andersen did,
27:41 now they're teaching the course of course.
27:44 And this is something that will enhance your marriage
27:48 if you learn how to communicate better.
27:50 May the Lord richly bless you, thank you.


Revised 2014-12-17