Monday, May 2, 2011
Healthy Relationship - Sign #2
In a good and healthy relationship, you have not only the freedom to think, but you also are encouraged to talk and to express yourself.
When you talk the other person listens with the attitude that what you are trying to say is greatly valued, even if the two of you disagree.
Note: this does not mean it's OK to speak disrespectfully. With freedom comes responsibility and everything we say should be honoring to those we are talking to . Even strong opinions can be stated in a respectful manner.
Whatever type of communication was used in your family of origin that's usually the pattern of communication you will tend to use as an adult. Did you have a distant or controlling parent? Were you never allowed to speak candidly? Were the words, "I love you" seldom heard in your home? If you as an adult are now repeating some of these unhealthy patterns here is an idea of how to begin a new way of communicating:
Go to your spouse, children or close friends and say, " I wish I were talking to you more and listening to what you have to say but I wasn't raised that way, so it doesn't come naturally to me. In fact, it's hard for me. But I want to break these habits and do things differently in this area of my life. WILL YOU HELP ME?"
This does two things
1. Conveys that you are working on this issue and aware that it is a problem
2. Gives permission for the other person to let you know when they feel they are not being listened to respectfully
3. It makes us accountable for our actions.
It will take time and effort but the end result will be worth it. The pull of our past can be broken.
This is an area I struggled in for years. I had wonderful parents but they came from very dysfunctional alcoholic homes and passed many of those unhealthy communication skills to me - I picked them up and tended to be a controlling parent that would not always allow my family to express opinions that were different than mine. I wish I would have learned this earlier but I did learn it and I can tell you from experience you can reverse these habits and patterns we bring from our childhood home. Admit what they are and begin today!
*Take a few moments to think about the patterns of communication you had at home when you were growing up........
*Now ask yourself how are your current patterns of communication at your home different or the same to when you grew up......
What is one thing in communicating with your spouse that you need to ask their help in doing?
Next post: Sign #3 - Everyone has a sense of safety and value in sharing their feelings
James 1:19 "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry."