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Nine Critical Mistakes Most Couples MakeNine Critical Mistakes Most Couples Make

Saying it So They Will Listen!

Dr. David Hawkins
The Relationship Doctor

CBN.comI have an experiment for everyone. Here goes:
The next time you’re sitting with a group of friends, or better yet, when you’re talking over a sensitive issue with your mate. Simply listen to how people talk, and more important, how they listen or don’t listen to one another.

I’ll be interested in what you notice. What I’ve noticed is a lot of people talking, and few people actually letting themselves be influenced by the other person. Many people have their minds made up, their positions taken, and fully appreciating the words of another seems like a lost art.

Consider the words of a recent response from a woman to our Message Board:

“I really enjoyed this topic because it sounds so much like my marriage. Unfortunately, my husband left me and our family for another woman (and to escape debt. resulting from the loss of my job). We are in touch but infrequently. I don't see how to save my marriage but I have learned a lot from your words. When we talk again I will try to remember to stop and listen to him, but how do I get him to listen to me? Thank you.”

This woman is in very desperate circumstances—she is trying to win her husband back, but also worries that she will get lost in the shuffle. She fears being heard, and more deeply, being understood. She must walk a fine line and make sure he feels heard while also sharing her heart as well.

In a recent book of mine, Saying It So He’ll Listen, I offer Seven C’s to use when trying to communicate, and listen to one another. Each one of these C’s integrally fit with the others. Using five out of seven won’t bring the same results that seven out of seven will bring. See how you fare in using these C’s in your communication, and let us know how your mate responds:

  • Say It Calmly: The moment we begin to raise our voices, shout or scold one another, the conversation ends. What invariably ensues is a fight, and nothing gets accomplished when we fight and quarrel with one another. Say whatever needs to be said in a calm voice;
  • Say It Clearly: Consider what you have to say, and say it. Don’t beat around the bush—ask for exactly, and specifically, what you want. Men, especially, appreciate getting the terms laid out in clear English. Tell him what you feel, think and want;
  • Say It Concisely: Yes, again I have a word for women. You will lose men’s attention after the forty-third word. If you decide to lecture, you’ll lose him even sooner. Ask to talk to him, getting his attention, but then tell it to him succinctly. This goes for men, too;
  • Say It Compassionately: Whatever we have to say needs to be said with a heart of compassion. If we vent our spleen seeking to hurt, or looking for revenge, we’ll only get distance, retaliation and wounded feelings. Compassion binds our hearts to one another. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. Seek empathy for their feelings, and then seek empathy for yours;
  • Say It With Conviction: Before approaching him, or her, know what you know in your knower. Be prayed up, having conviction for what you’re asking for. Have a clear sense about what God has to say on the matter—not to preach, or condemn, but to say things from a heart of conviction;
  • Say It With Conciliation: When we confront someone, it needs to be for the purpose of reconciling ourselves to them. We are called as Christians to be reconciled to one another, not to alienate each other. While we cannot control other’s behaviors, we can check our hearts and motivations. Are we willing and ready to build bridges, not dividing walls?
  • Say It Consistently: There are times when we need to say things more than once. We need to offer a consistent message. If we tell him/ her we mean business, and then waffle on our position, this enables the particular behavior. So, don’t say you mean business unless you mean business;
  • Say It With Consequences: If you’re counting, you’ll notice this was a bonus C—but a very important eighth C—consequences. A boundary without consequences is not a boundary. It’s a wish or a hope, but not something with power and conviction. If you’re practicing the seven C’s, you’ll need to add consequences to the group. Are you willing to be firm with what you need? Then there must be consequences to your words.

To the woman whose husband left for another woman—you need to practice each of these C tools of communication, including consequences. While you want to win your husband back, you don’t want to share your heart and life with an unfaithful man. Let him know that your heart is for reconciliation, and that you’re willing to explore any issues that made him leave, but that your marriage must be based upon faithfulness and fidelity, nothing less. If he wants to see you and the other woman, tell him “no.”

To our other readers—test drive these Seven C’s (with the bonus C!) and let us know how it changes the way you communicate with your mate. We’ll watch for some responses to our Message Board.





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