The Number One reason married couples come to New Hope Counseling Service is, “We have a breakdown in communication.”
Communication breakdown is not confined to marriage relationships. If you can talk you have the potential for a communication breakdown.
Politeness and civility take a backseat when two or more disagree on any given subject at any given time in any given arena.
Last time we asked this question: How do you maintain the proper balance of the normal security and significance needs of the husband and wife after marriage – know what these needs are before getting married?
This statement begs one further question: Suppose you did not get premarital counseling?
More than half the couples coming to us for counseling did not go through premarital counseling. Over the past 30 years this ministry has proven putting married couples through premarital counseling is most productive.
In the last session we learned males and females are equal but that they are different. They are equal because both were created in the image of God according to Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.
In this session we will begin to look at how, although equal, they arte different in so many aspects. The first of the differences we will observe is their differences in human personal worth.
Personal worth is made up primarily of two elements: Security and Significance. Although there are elements of both in females and males proportionally they are different. Follow this simple illustration.
If we could weigh a woman’s personal worth on a set of balance scales we would see she weighs heavier on the Security side and lighter on the Significant side. Although, as a female, she needs an element of Significance she needs a greater amount of Security to balance her female profile.
In this session we learn males and females are equal but they are different. This is not new information for most people, although I do not recall hearing a sermon on this aspect of marriage. But what is new is how this plays out in the realm of problem solving between a husband and his wife.
Someone said there are no marriage problems; there are singles problems carried into marriages. In counseling, I deal with this in premarital counseling so they don’t affect the marriage.
Know What Makes Your Spouse Tick Not What Ticks Your Spouse
The above caption will be a continuing theme for the next several lessons.
This title evokes many thoughts – some positive and some negative.
All we have learned thus far regarding problem solving and dealing with communication breakdowns are applicable between husbands and wives. However, the arena in the marriage relationship is different from any other arena of human relationships.
Dr. Ed Wheat, M.D. in his classic book, Love Life, for Every Married Couple © 1980, makes a most declarative statement regarding marriage:
The title of this tool is a play-on-words. It is built upon the last tool we learned. We looked at 12 words that can heel relationships: I am wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.
In our last lesson we concluded this is what to do. Now we will learn how to put this together for an effective delivery. Remember, the best way to defeat the enemy is to make a friend of them.
The A, B, Cs for Handling Communication Breakdowns
These are the two primary ways people handle communication breakdowns.:
Giving in is not giving up. Biblically speaking, giving in is giving over to God’s way toward resolution and reconciliation. As a jail chaplain I often taught a lesson I entitled: How is the Best Way to Defeat Your Enemies.
As you might imagine, occasionally an inmate would blurt out, “Kill him.”
Because I got that answer from time to time, I would respond with this question, “What are you in for?” More often than not they were in for a violent crime against an individual – even murder.
To move the lesson along in a positive direction, I would ask, “How would you like to learn how to defeat an enemy without incurring negative consequences – make a friend of them.”
Breaking down our walls of resentments is an on going, almost daily, process for several reasons.
Last time we introduced the process of listing our unresolved anger and resentments in the categories that affect us most adversely. As we work through this process, the mind will release them over a period of time – sometimes individually, sometimes in lump sum or collective clusters and sometimes in a mixed bag of both earlier and recent issues. And at each juncture we will have to deal with hurtful and sometimes forgotten memories.
Caution: As you are mentally and emotionally working through this process, do not try to make amends immediately upon recognizing a need or urge to do so.. Give yourself time to heal. Remember the lesson: Attack the problem and not the person.
Evaluation is an important part of the healing process from breaking down the walls of resentments. To facilitate this process we will need to apply the answers to these questions:
We could subtitle this tool: Managing My Memories.
In an earlier lesson we learned we can forgive even though we cannot forget. It was pointed out that through prompting or provocation we will recall almost all that our five senses, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting, have stored in our memory banks.
It is a good thing we can do this because by this means we mature. But if we keep recalling unresolved anger and resentments we will remain in an unsettled state of frustration.
As we go through life we build walls of resentments that are designed to protect us from hurt, rejection, fear, loneliness and other circumstance related issues. However, in time, we realize we are imprisoned by our own walls of protection; but are afraid to get out from behind them for fear of experiencing the unpleasant things that caused us to build them in the first place.
I’ll resort to a silly illustration to teach this complicated dilemma. From the mug-shot accompanying this article you see I am bald. This doesn’t bother me, but it is a major issue for many. For the sake of illustration, let’s say I am bothered by this condition.
What do I do? I see at least three options.
In my seminary course on sermon preparation the author of the book made an interesting statement in his introduction. He said, “Words do not have a meaning – they have a usage.”
Of course they have a meaning and a definition, but he was pointing out a valuable lesson to would-be Bible teachers and preachers. You need not only know the definition of the words you use, but you must know the full range of their usage.
Although my grammar is not always A+, I work overtime to extract the full meaning/usage of key words in my statements – more especially in this lesson.
My closing statement last time was: “Maybe these words – image and glory - have a different connotation in Greek than they do in English.” I was trying to get out from under the full responsibility of being a male. I didn’t ask to be born a male, but having been selected by God to be one I had the responsibility to live as He intended all men to live.
Unresolved anger and unresolved resentments are two major sources of unresolvable problems. In the previous article we labeled them as junk in our trunk. Unless we empty this trunk the contents spill over into many of our relationships. In a previous article we learned to forgive without forgetting. In this tool we will pull all of this together.
We’ve examined the five levels of anger, namely; mild irritation, indignation, wrath, fury and rage as defined by Dr. James Dobson. It was noted indignation was a major obstacle in that it plays itself out as a slow burn or un-forgiveness.
Resentments are not that acutely defined. Resentments align themselves with seven levels of relationships. Before defining them we need to understand God’s divine line of authority as spelled out in 1st Corinthians 11:7.
Like many vehicles human life, figuratively speaking, runs on four tires delineated as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
To illustrate this principle consider a common occurrence – a vehicular flat tire. From this illustration we discern the human application.
If, while driving an automobile, a flat tire occurs one of two things follows:
In the worse case scenario, that is one cannot get out of the line of traffic, they must continue to keep pace with the flow of traffic. Continuing to run on a flat tire adds the risk of ruining other tires. One flat tire may ultimately become two or more flat tires.