Participants: Willie and Wilma Lee
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000031
00:30 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:33 I'm Willie Lee, your host, and our co-host for today is Wilma.
00:38 Wilma Lee. Welcome, and today we're going to talk about
00:43 the marriage dialogue. Welcome, and we're excited
00:47 to have you with us. Of course, we're excited.
00:49 And we hope that you and your spouse are ready to join us
00:53 today. And as we begin, let's go to God in prayer
00:57 and ask Him for His help in our message for today.
01:03 Dear Lord, we are grateful to know that as our Father
01:07 you have already prepared for this day and for our benefit.
01:13 And we pray that you will enter into our dialogue
01:17 so that we'll hear the dialogue of heaven and will know
01:21 that You are with us in our growth toward being like Christ.
01:26 We are thankful that you have given us the promise of the
01:29 Holy Spirit never to leave us alone and to give us
01:33 a Comforter. We rejoice in that promise
01:36 and we thank you in the lovely name of Jesus,
01:39 Amen. Amen.
01:42 It is our custom to dialogue
01:46 because it's something that we
01:47 have been practicing and doing
01:49 for quite a while as a couple.
01:51 And today we are ready to share some things about dialogue
01:56 and what dialogue is all about and the benefit of it.
01:58 And what God has to say about our conversation
02:03 and communication with each other as a couple.
02:07 We make us think that we should
02:09 practice, and don't people just
02:12 talk to each other? Don't couples just talk to each other?
02:15 I'm sure they do, and that's probably not what we are
02:20 really talking about. We are talking about the fact
02:22 that there needs to be more intention in how we talk
02:25 to each other because things can escalate and develop
02:29 into uncomfortable and painful expressions one to another
02:34 if we get into heated arguments or anger takes over.
02:37 We need to be careful to make sure that we can hear each other
02:40 and feel what's coming from one another and be able to converse.
02:46 Because God says in Ephesians 4, and I am reading from the
02:49 New Living Translation, that we ought to be careful about
02:53 how we talk. It says: "Don't sin by letting anger gain
02:57 control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still
03:01 angry for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil. "
03:05 And then it says in verse 29:
03:07 "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you
03:12 say be good and helpful so that your words will be an
03:16 encouragement to those who hear them. "
03:20 A lot of times our words to each other when we are feeling very
03:24 rough or very hurtful about something that has been done
03:29 or said, sometimes our language does not always come across
03:33 in a way where it's an encouragement.
03:35 But at home you can say anything you want to the people
03:38 you live with because they understand... and so
03:42 you don't really have to be careful about your words.
03:45 Well I think we found out something different, didn't we?
03:47 We certainly did! We found out that at home
03:51 especially... We put on our best behavior a lot of times
03:54 when we are away from each other but we let down our guard
03:57 and we drop any pretense when we are at home, and we just
04:02 let it out... and we end up hurting each other.
04:04 It's not a very encouraging environment.
04:07 And I don't know if you have experienced that in your home
04:09 but in most homes that we have dealt with couples...
04:12 they are really concerned about the kind of conversation
04:15 that they have. So we want to talk about that today.
04:19 Because even in Proverbs the 15th chapter and verse 1
04:23 we are told that we ought to be careful about how
04:28 we talk because we need to make sure that we use soft answers
04:33 to turn away wrath and anger.
04:35 And we can appreciate that because we have learned
04:39 that there is a better way. Well, you know, I think
04:42 that often times in our homes it's like saving the good china
04:47 for company and the good things for company.
04:51 And we do that with the good words and the kind words.
04:54 We only bring those out for company,
04:57 and we forget that those that are near and dear to us
05:00 need to have those fine things brought out and used every day.
05:04 Even when we don't feel near and dear?
05:08 ESPECIALLY when we don't feel near and dear. Exactly!
05:12 We have to remember that God created us in His image,
05:16 so we have to restore that image in our communication as well.
05:21 And that's what we're here to talk about today.
05:24 We're going to get into some of those elements of communication,
05:27 some of those things that we ought to be more careful about
05:31 and intentional about so that our speech and our language
05:36 that we use will help to provide
05:41 an ease of conflict
05:44 and not so much pain and discomfort
05:48 when we are trying to discuss things that are hurting us.
05:51 Well, maybe we ought to begin with dialogue -
05:53 all right, let's do that -
05:54 Because dialogue implies that there are two people involved.
05:58 Ahhh, yes.
06:01 Sometimes we don't talk like the other person has anything
06:05 to say or anything to share. But, yes, dialogue does mean
06:08 that it has to be two people in conversation with each other.
06:12 So that means one person can't go on... and on...
06:16 and on... and on... because you know what happens?
06:20 The other person just kind of clicks off and goes to all the
06:23 pretty places in their head.
06:25 Well, that might be in some temperaments. Of course,
06:29 they may not go to pretty... they may interrupt.
06:31 They may immediately respond in a way that says
06:36 I'm not hearing that. I don't care what you're going to say
06:39 from now on because what you just said was more important
06:43 to me than anything you can say afterwards,
06:45 and I don't like what you say.
06:47 So... But there's a way to control that flow.
06:50 There's a way to bring a measure where there is some equality
06:55 and equity involved in our conversation in that we each
07:00 have a turn, we each have an opportunity to express,
07:02 we each have an opportunity to hear and to be heard.
07:06 So those are very important things, and we want you to
07:10 understand some of them.
07:11 So maybe we need to talk about what happens when you
07:14 communicate effectively. Ah, so effective communication
07:19 is what we're talking about today.
07:21 And I think that's important because that's what God is
07:23 saying. He wants the effect to be that we leave our
07:27 conversations encouraged. That we are not angry so that
07:32 we are allowing the devil to come in and to work our
07:36 temperaments in such a way that we lose control
07:39 and allow sin to take place. Anger is an emotion
07:42 that can be expressed, but it needs to be expressed in a way
07:46 that reflects the image of God.
07:48 Well, let's just talk about the things that happen - right -
07:52 when we communicate. Let's do that.
07:54 People think that being a great
07:56 communicator means that you are able to use words.
08:00 All right. But what I have learned is that words are only
08:04 7% of communication.
08:07 Ah, that's not a whole lot, is it?
08:09 No. If I were having a piece of pie and you offered me
08:13 pie and I only got 7%, I don't think I'd be real pleased.
08:18 So out of 100% of being effective at communicating,
08:22 and to only use words and not realize that there are
08:25 other components, means that we are falling way short
08:30 of being an effective communicator in our
08:33 relationship. And that's what we want to work on. Right.
08:35 And then if you add tone of voice to words, OK,
08:39 you only get... How much do you think?
08:45 Well, I would guess that tone of voice would mean a whole lot
08:48 because sometimes tone does determine whether or not
08:53 I'm on alert or whether I'm lulled to sleep.
08:56 Well, what do you think the percentage would be?
08:58 Well, since I know the percentage, I'm going to
09:01 go ahead and share it. OK! It's going to be something like
09:04 about maybe 36%, somewhere around that. All right.
09:09 36% effectiveness if you use good tone intonation.
09:15 So that when you are angry you hit an angry tone.
09:17 When you're sad, there's a sad tone.
09:19 When you are trying to say something important,
09:22 you elevate the tone.
09:23 And that puts some meaning
09:25 to the words. All right.
09:27 Because tone does... so...
09:28 when you add that up, it only
09:30 comes to what? Less than half!
09:32 Less than half: 45%.
09:34 45% when you are using words and intonation.
09:38 That means there is still something missing from having
09:42 effective communication. So, when you have less than
09:46 half and you want to be
09:48 an effective communicator,
09:50 what do you need?
09:52 Well, let's talk about some of those things.
09:54 I think we are talking about the area of non-verbals:
09:58 those things that take place when you are talking.
10:01 Because some of you are listening to our tone of voice
10:05 right now. You are hearing our words,
10:08 but there is another element.
10:10 You are looking at our expressions.
10:12 You see expressions on our faces. You see body language.
10:16 We are turned toward each other. You see gestures: the use of
10:21 the hands. You see eye contact. Umm hmm.
10:25 Those are things that you don't have to say a word
10:27 but can communicate using those.
10:30 I guess, body position. True.
10:33 I can't turn my back on you right now...
10:35 but I could do this... Oh, my!
10:38 That means that you are closed.
10:41 That means that you are not very happy with what you are hearing.
10:45 True. Is that true? No, of course not.
10:50 So, but it does express that.
10:52 If you don't mean it, then don't do it, right?
10:55 Please. So those are some of the things,
10:58 and we are not going to go through all of them today.
11:00 But we have to learn that these parts of,
11:04 of I guess, effective communication
11:07 - umm hmm - all add up to 55%.
11:11 So a person can actually watch your non-verbals
11:16 and determine far more than listening to your words
11:20 or your intonation of voice.
11:22 And the interesting thing about non-verbals is that
11:26 if they contradict what you are saying,
11:29 people believe the non-verbals.
11:31 Ahhh. And you know why that is?
11:33 Because you can't control your non-verbals.
11:36 That's right. Non-verbals come out of who you are
11:40 deep inside. They're actually an autonomic
11:45 response of our system. And our brain makes our body
11:51 do certain things that we don't even think about.
11:55 We don't even plan it... but they happen.
11:57 I remember one time my wife told me that I was sighing
12:03 every time certain people were talking.
12:06 Whenever that person talked that I would sigh deeply.
12:10 Loudly, loudly... and loudly.
12:12 I didn't even realize I was doing it!
12:14 But that was my response - yes - to that person
12:18 and the way that they were communicating. Yes.
12:21 And I didn't want to give myself away but I was
12:25 giving myself away because I wasn't stopping to think.
12:29 Fortunately, that person didn't read non-verbals.
12:33 Well, I had to think about what I was feeling about that person
12:37 as well because it was coming through in a non-verbal way.
12:40 And it happens with us. So these are some of the things
12:43 we are going to talk about, and we want you to realize
12:46 that as we talk about these things that we are going to
12:48 apply them to communication between husbands and wives.
12:54 Spousal conversations sometimes have all these elements in them,
12:59 and they take on a greater meaning than we think.
13:03 So, we want you to be prepared. So if that other person
13:08 in your spousal relationship is not there,
13:11 tell them to come to watch and to hear and to understand
13:17 what we are sharing. Because it takes two people
13:19 to have couple dialogue. And after you are sitting down
13:24 comfortably, we'll be right back and, with Wilma, we'll continue
13:28 to talk about effective communication.
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14:16 Welcome back to Marriage in God's Hands.
14:19 We've been talking about
14:21 the marriage dialogue
14:23 and, as we have been talking about effective communication,
14:28 we have talked about what the Bible has to say about that.
14:31 But we are also talking about the elements or the components
14:34 of effective communication. And just to review briefly,
14:37 we have been labeling some of those as verbal,
14:42 non-verbal - um hmm. Verbal includes tone of voice
14:47 as well as words. Um-hmm. And they all go to make up
14:51 when you put it together with non-verbal, what we call
14:55 effective communication... being 100% effective
14:57 in your communication. But the one thing we haven't said
15:01 is how we can communicate effectively, sometimes more
15:07 effectively, by just using non-verbals and what it...
15:10 what it really says about us when we are being effective
15:14 with non-verbals. Let's talk about that for just a moment
15:18 before we go on. Because it is possible
15:22 as a person in the couple dialogue,
15:28 that the person who is not talking can be a very effective
15:32 communicator with non-verbals.
15:35 That's true. And that means that
15:37 you are listening attentively
15:40 without adding anything to the conversation.
15:44 That's right. And sometimes, especially in the couple
15:47 dialogue, one thing that we hadn't mentioned,
15:50 even though we talked about the eye contact and the
15:53 body position. We talked about gestures, facial expressions,
15:57 and so on. But one thing we didn't talk about was touch.
16:01 And sometimes touch says a lot too that's non-verbal
16:05 when you're a couple and talking. And the person who's
16:09 listening and touching, with good eye contact,
16:13 and with all of the correct body positioning, expresses
16:18 something. What is that that you express to me when you are
16:22 listening to me right now with all of those non-verbals?
16:25 That you are important to me. That I care about you.
16:28 And that I want to know what you're feeling.
16:31 All right. And that makes it very effective and
16:34 you might want to do that and look at that in your own
16:38 relationship when you are in conversation and talking about
16:42 something that is meaningful. We're not talking about
16:45 communication on a level that is a little bit more trite...
16:49 not as deeply involved with one another.
16:53 But we're talking about expressing feelings...
16:57 not opinions about the world.
17:01 Not an idea of just talking to pass the time away
17:07 but communicating about what's going on inside of me
17:11 that I need to share with you so that you will know who I am
17:14 and what I'm feeling. So, what's the difference between sharing
17:19 opinions and feelings? Well, I think sharing opinions
17:23 and feelings... opinions are important because
17:25 they tell what we feel about the world.
17:29 But when I share my feelings, it shares who I really am
17:33 and what is going on inside of me -
17:37 not my expression about what's going on somewhere else.
17:41 And it's important in communicating to one another
17:44 that we as a couple, as a married couple,
17:48 that we actually are putting our fingers on how we're feeling
17:53 about each other and about the relationship that we have.
17:56 Well, when things are happening how do I know when I'm sharing
18:02 a feeling and not an opinion?
18:04 Well, you are going to have to tell me that because you must
18:07 express what's going on in you.
18:10 Well, if I say "I think, " um-hmm,
18:13 something's happening, is that an opinion or is that a feeling?
18:18 It sounds like an opinion to me.
18:19 If you are thinking about something, then that's just
18:23 something intellectual. Hmmm. But when you say "I feel... "
18:27 or "I am, " then you are telling me about something that you are.
18:33 Oh, so there is a difference even in the words that are used
18:37 - yes - when you express feelings and opinions.
18:42 That's right. But there's another set of words, too,
18:45 that are often used by couples
18:49 that create an ineffective environment for good
18:54 communication, and that's when I tell you what you ought to be
19:00 feeling and what you ought to be doing.
19:02 And... Oh, you mean you can't preach to me?
19:05 Oh, well why yes, we even do that. We even read the Bible
19:09 and say: "This is what God tells you to do. "
19:11 But once again, I think the words - the word differences -
19:15 that when I am expressing I need to use "I " phrases:
19:19 Oh... "I feel, " "I am. "
19:21 instead of words that connote or that express "YOU. "
19:26 "YOU " is sort of kind of an accusatory.
19:28 It's like putting the finger in the face and
19:31 telling you what you ought to be doing
19:33 and what you're doing wrong. Hmmm, I don't like that.
19:37 It's not a very good thing, is it? No!
19:39 So we need to stay away when we are expressing feelings
19:44 from telling the person what they ought to be doing
19:48 but rather expressing what I'm feeling as a result of what's
19:52 happening or what's being said. I guess this goes back to where
19:55 we talk about practice, because I remember when we were first
20:00 introduced to dialogue, and I did practice.
20:04 Here we go with temperaments again.
20:06 And I remember practicing what I was going to say to you
20:11 and how you were going to respond, I hoped.
20:16 And what I was going to say in response so that when
20:19 we were together I'd know how to do this dialogue thing.
20:25 And, of course, you know you are very, usually predictable.
20:31 Thank you, I guess. So your part was pretty good,
20:36 but then I didn't always get my part real well.
20:40 And I remember you saying to me one time:
20:42 "But this is not dialogue. "
20:44 And I remember saying: "I don't want to dialogue.
20:47 I just want to tell you what I feel. "
20:51 But eventually I learned that being able to share what I felt
20:56 in a very calm way and talking about what I really felt
21:01 and not expressing opinions was very effective.
21:05 And that you didn't do this when I began to talk about
21:10 my feelings. Because I realized when I learned to read
21:14 non-verbals that sometimes I was making you do this
21:18 rather than do this. And that does make a difference,
21:23 doesn't it? Yes, it does!
21:24 A lot of times you might find out in your relationships
21:28 and in your communication, if you are watching
21:31 and listening to your partner, your spouse,
21:36 if the reaction is not a good reaction,
21:39 you might discuss well what's happening, what's going on
21:42 that you feel. What are you feeling right now?
21:44 The use of feeling words is better to use than, as it says
21:49 in the 29th verse of Ephesians 5,
21:52 using abusive language. A lot of times we fall into the habit
21:56 of using abusive language. God says that's not good.
22:00 And the language of the Bible expresses that as brought out
22:03 so well in the New Living Translation
22:05 that we can be abusive to our spouses if we are using
22:10 language that is abusive or attitudes or emotions that
22:14 are abusive or treating the other person unkindly
22:18 and less than encouraging. So we need to be careful about that.
22:21 Well, I don't know if it's always abusive or less than
22:27 encouraging. I think that because our society is of such,
22:31 sometimes it's frightening
22:34 because, you know, I'm planted
22:37 pretty close to the water and so tears run pretty freely.
22:41 And I think that maybe you were a bit frightened by the tears?
22:46 Well, that's another part of feeling.
22:51 Tears do express feeling.
22:53 Yes. And sometimes it is
22:55 threatening more than abusive
22:58 um-hmm - to the other person
22:59 because they want to own the tears, and sometimes
23:02 the ownership of the tears truly are the person who is
23:06 crying. And not necessarily caused by another individual
23:11 who is talking to them. So, those are the things that need
23:14 to be discussed. A couple of other elements
23:17 that I think are important because time is involved
23:20 in this. Setting aside the right amount of time
23:22 with not having interference or interruption.
23:26 That's back to your intimate relationship. That's right.
23:29 We're going back to creating an intimate environment.
23:33 Also, not cutting the person off before they are finishing
23:37 what they are saying. Not trying to finish their thoughts
23:41 or trying to think of what you're going to say
23:45 rather than listening to what's being said.
23:48 These are things we have learned - yes -
23:50 that have helped us to be more effective - yes - in listening
23:54 as well as in sharing. And, of course, that sharing
23:57 is not talking so long that the other person never has a chance
24:02 to reflect what they just heard - true - so that you can know
24:06 that you are being heard. And I think that when we go back
24:10 to looking at the equation of the sacred circle
24:14 and the relationship that one has with God,
24:17 God says: "Be still and know that I am God. "
24:21 Because you need to listen to Him first.
24:25 That's how you learn how to listen.
24:27 And so you learn that skill by listening to what God has to say
24:31 to you. So then you can bring that to learning how to listen
24:34 to your spouse.
24:36 You've just shared something that's very important.
24:38 And I don't know if you intentionally did that,
24:42 but I need to share that with others.
24:45 And that is: communicating is a skill that can be learned.
24:50 It is not automatic.
24:52 It is not because you go to church and you love God that you
24:55 will have it. You need to be intentional about learning
24:59 good communication skills because a lot of things we learn
25:05 in the families of origin. Um-hmm. Sometimes we learn
25:09 the wrong way of communication or ineffective communication.
25:14 And we just think that however it was done in my family,
25:18 or the way I'm used to doing it, is going to be OK.
25:21 But then you bring two people together from two different
25:24 families, two different sets of expectations,
25:26 BAM! Then we've got explosions and we've got difficulty.
25:31 And it's a block and a barrier to creating the kind of
25:34 environment that is a loving, encouraging environment - yes -
25:38 in marriage. Yes! And that's what we want to achieve.
25:41 And really, that's one of the other advantages of
25:45 pre-marriage education because this is the place to learn
25:48 effective communication skills for couples.
25:51 And it's also a good precursor to understanding
25:56 that when we are on an understanding level
25:58 or if we are having difficulty there's always one conversation
26:02 that will help in all of our communication,
26:05 and that is talking to God.
26:07 Why don't we do that right now? Why don't we?
26:09 Thank you, Lord, for hearing us and knowing us
26:13 as your children who are trying to live a life of marriage
26:17 according to Your will.
26:18 Help us to be more responsive to each other
26:21 as marriage partners in our communication.
26:25 And may we develop those skills according to Your Holy Spirit's
26:29 power. And thank you, Lord, for not only hearing
26:33 but thank you, Lord, for speaking to us.
26:36 And thank you for sharing Your love with us.
26:39 We pray in the lovely name of Jesus, Amen and Amen.
26:45 There are some things that we have discussed that perhaps
26:48 need to be discussed in your home... in your marriage.
26:52 And remember the sacred circle.
26:54 These are things that ought to be taken into the
26:58 private setting of your private place as husband and wife.
27:03 Discussions of this type should not be in front of the children.
27:08 They should not be out in front of public or those who are
27:12 outside of that sacred circle.
27:13 You and the Lord must work on these things.
27:16 We have found that effective. Yes, because often times
27:20 when you work on things together with the Lord
27:23 He speaks to you in ways you can't even begin to imagine.
27:28 That's right. And if you're listening, you'll be able to
27:31 hear and to pass along what you've learned to your spouse.
27:35 We thank you so much for being with us.
27:38 We hope we've been helpful, and we know that your
27:41 communication will be more effective. God bless you.