OPEN, HONEST, TRUST- FILLED COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO GROWTH IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Genesis is the book about the beginnings of human history: the creation of man and woman They are called to be ‘Two in one flesh’. This is about the UNITY God wishes to exist between husband and wife * The Bible is all about relationships: God’s love for us and our response
Intimacy is experienced through communicating thoughts and feelings * Unity depends on the level of INTIMACY in the relationship Intimacy is not primarily about sex Intimacy – from Latin ‘Intus’ meaning ‘within’
Feelings arise SPONTANEOUSLY. We have no control over their coming. They reflect the judgement we make about how what we see and hear at this moment will affect our ability to meet our NEEDS. AN IMPORTANT DEFINITION: “A feeling is a spontaneous inner reaction to a person, place or situation I am experiencing or thinking about at this moment” It involves verbal and non-verbal communication, and requires ACTIVE LISTENING, especially to THE FEELINGS
* RELATIONSHIP NEEDS To be loved and accepted For self-worth To belong These NEEDS ‘drive’ our behaviour. All day long, in every situation, we are concerned to meet these needs For autonomy: to be able to be ‘myself’ while in a relationship with you
‘Good’ (pleasant, happy, joyful) feelings tell us that we judge our needs are being met at this moment
Sadness, anger, fear, anxiety etc. tell us that we judge our needs are NOT being met at this moment. * Why do we find difficulty sharing these feelings? Because we judge there is something ‘wrong’ with us if we have these sort of feelings. What will people think of me if they know I have these feelings? …we might also be afraid about how they or others might use what we have shared.
* It IS wrong to EXPRESS anger through physical or verbal abuse, or by ‘nursing’ our anger and allowing it to ‘leak’ into our relationship with others. FEELINGS ARE NEITHER RIGHT NOR WRONG. THEY JUST ‘ARE’. THEY ARE ‘ME’ AS I AM AT THIS MOMENT Because feelings arise SPONTANEOUSLY there is nothing ‘wrong’ with any feeling.
Much of the time we don’t know why we have these feelings. They arise because of all the ‘baggage’ we each bring to the relationship to start with, which we are adding to every day. Because feelings arise spontaneously don’t blame me for my feelings, don’t criticize my feelings, don’t judge me on my feelings, don’t tell me I shouldn’t feel like that.
Each person can have different feelings about the same thing because of their different experiences, hopes, fears, expectations and attitudes etc
You can have different feelings about the same situation today from those you had yesterday because of all that has happened in the meantime.
So it is important for each person in the relationship to IDENTIFY their feelings, and to share them with their partner. OPEN, HONEST, TRUST- FILLED COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO ACHIEVING AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP, AND IT STRENGTHENS COMMITMENT NOTE: When we say “I feel that…” Or “I feel I should” …etc we are NOT expressing a feeling. We are expressing a THOUGHT or making a judgement.
TRUST is an essential part of the rock foundation of a relationship. Secrecy; unwillingness to share with your partner on a regular basis your thoughts and feelings; dishonesty and lies – especially about money and sex; abusive language and behaviour… these are destructive of trust and erode relationship and commitment
An affair destroys trust, which is very difficult to restore. A few moments of excitement and pleasure can lead to a life-time of regret, and cause pain to others, especially children.
Christian marriage calls a couple to “take each other for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part”. This requires a level of commitment greater than that required in any other human relationship. It involves more than ‘fuzzy’ feelings.
TO LOVE IS A DECISION You CHOOSE to marry this person. It’s a free choice you both make. Both persons must be committed to a life-long relationship.
That commitment means that despite serious health problems, unemployment, financial problems, housing difficulties, problems with the children, childlessness, in-laws, etc. you will remain committed to each other until one of you dies.
To live out TO LOVE IS A DECISION on a daily basis often means rising above your feelings of anger, resentment, fear etc. to reach out to the other person, to DECIDE to love them when you don’t FEEL very loving. ????!!!
The greatest aid to a secure, happy and life- long marriage is OPEN, HONEST, TRUST-FILLED COMMUNICATION ON A DAILY BASIS Unless a couple continue to communicate each day at the level of FEELINGS they gradually get to a stage when they don’t really know each other.*
Don’t think you know ME because of your past experience of me. I am always changing – every day!
There is a DOWNWARD SPIRAL when there is a LACK of open, honest, communication. politeness rudeness, complaints, criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling. The first thing to go is which leads to 85% of stonewallers are men, which infuriates their wives!
Start really listening, latch on to his or her efforts to mend the rift, be precise about your complaints, state how you feel about the present situation of your relationship, try to empathise with your partner, make conciliatory gestures, and follow this with a healthy dose of PRAISE and ADMIRATION* There IS a REPAIR MECHANISM:
After the married couple have shared on this topic we will ask you to complete a handout on FEELINGS, and a questionnaire.
It is important to write down your thoughts and especially your FEELINGS, using the list of feelings words provided. If you write little or nothing you deprive your partner of a fuller knowledge of you…and you can imagine the resentment they may be feeling.
Then join your partner and hand them the sheet with your answers. As you read their responses to the questions take in what they have written; tell them how you FEEL about what they have written, and then discuss your answers.
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