Relationships 101: The Communication Dilemma Part 2

Here is the second part of the previous blog I wrote in relation to communication in relationships:

6) Do not let the fear of someone’s reaction to what you say or do dictate your actions. Many people I have encountered who are experiencing problems with their relationships show that it stems from internal fear of the reaction they might get. I will be the first to tell you that relationships involve risks. But many times with the risks that relationships require comes a reward that is often greater than the risk itself. Often confidence is gained from a risk taken, wich is both healthy and important for an individual involved in any kind of relationship. But taking risks can also be unhealthy if done carelessly.

7) Frame what you say before you say it. Many times have I seen people get in fights with their friend or boyfriend/girlfriend over something that was said between the two people or what one person said to a third party about the other in the relationship. All of this can and is destructive in a relationship, but I feel it can be avoided. Many times if one or both people in the relationship took a mental step back and evaluated the situation (i.e. the fight) more often than not they would be able to take the time to rationally gather their thoughts and communicate them in a non-threatening way. I equate this to something along the lines of public speaking. Very few people can effectively “wing” a speech in front of a large group of people and not lose the meaning of what they have to say. This applys to personal relationships in a lot of ways also. Much like a public speaker prepares their thoughts before they give a presentation, so should an individual prepare their thoughts before they speak to someone they have emotional ties to. This will reduce the instances of individuals acting from off the cuff and allow for the diffusion of the situation rather than the escalation.

8) Do not delay what you know you should say or do today. I have seen many relationships get weakened because one or both people in the relationship swallow their feelings and ignore what is going on when problems arise. I have also seen the effects on an individual when the person they are in a relationship with will not communicate when pleaded with to do so. Both instances are harmful if the behavior is ongoing. I have also seen relationships strengthened when both parties openly communicate their points in a loving way during a disagreement. One way to put aside our own fears and pride is to pray that God give you a way out of the situation you are in and for things to be reconciled in your relationship. Leaning on our Lord during troublesome times can be the best remedy to any disagreement. Many people do not see the light at the end of the tunnel during an arguement, especially if deep emotional investments have been made in the relationship. God has always promised a way out of the pain we might be experiencing, but He never said it wouldnt take work on our part to get out of it.

9) Be open to others ideas. We live in a society today where people are itching to tell you their opinion on things and where selfish ego’s are rampant. Many people will fight you over petty things trying to force on you why you are wrong and why they’re right. What ever happened to agreeing to disagree? Relationships never are perfect and never will be. People are always going to have differing views on any given issue, and that is alright. But when someone becomes so closed minded as to not even hear someone else’s views then the person trying to express themselves becomes shut off to communication with the other person, thus making a relationship between the two people difficult. Many people feel disrespected in relationships because of differing views, which is completly contradictary to what Christ taught. Christ did indeed disagree with the people he associated with, but He always spoke His truth in love and never beat people over the head with His words or degraded them because of the stance they took. This I feel is a key component to having successful relationships no matter the kind of relationship it is.

10) Ask questions. We sometimes spend a large part of our life trying to figure people out, when in reality a question or series of questions is all that is needed. I know of several people who were or are in relationships in which a lot of unknowns are present. But for various reasons the individuals hesitate to find out the answers to those unknowns by asking questions and rather choose to figure things out in a round-about way. From my experience the direct approach has always been the most successful for me. For one it saves time and can diffuse tense situations faster. Also, it can bring about feelings of comfort and peace for the person who seeks the answers they look for in a direct way. On the other hand it can bring about pain when painful questions are asked, but if both parties seek God and communicate the truth that is based on love for the other person then that is when the damage is minimized and situations are easier to overcome.

11) Seek wise council. I have been blessed over my life to have several friends and family members in my life who love me and who have much more experience than I do. I have been given the opportunity to gain wisdom and insight from them and it has helped me immensly in my relationships with others. There are times when I have been in situations new to me and I would go to any one of these people whom I admire and look up to and simply ask them if one thing or another sounded right or reasonable when I am engaged in dialogue with someone. Nothing but the power and wisdom of God has helped me more than the advice I have gotten from the few people who have counselled me over the years as I grow to be the man of God I am going to be. There is just something about not feeling alone on my journey of life I am on that calms me during my mental storms, and I am convinced it is the hand of God that brought these people into my life. The more people realize that they don’t have to face life alone, and werent meant to face life alone, then the stronger they will become and even simple tasks such as communicating with someone else will not seem quite as daunting.

Blessings!

~Bryan

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Relationships 101: The Communication Dilemma Part 1

My life continues to change and its amazing. God continues to teach me things and I am happy to say I’m His sponge. God is showing me some things about a few people that hurts but doesn’t harm me. Meaning yes things are painful but not to the extent that the pain lasts. I can feel God molding me and changing me where He needs me to change, and preparing me for the things in my future as I grow as a man living my life for God as best I can. Something God has put on my heart lately is communication and how crucial it is in relationships. I see many people encounter trouble in their relationships, and from what I can see it stems from the lack of communication, or communicating the right message in the wrong way. Personally I have a few different responses to the commnication dilema:

1) Do not wait for someone elses approach to you before you communicate what you feel. Take initiative. This involves risk and making yourself vulnerable but the right words said in the right way stand a good chance of making the situation better before it gets worse.

2) Let God be your Guide. Too many people, myself included, Try to navigate relationships on their own. When people are left to their own knowledge and personalities to navigate relationships with other people they sometimes fail. They’re human, it happens. But when we seek guidance from The One who created us and knows us and who knows the people we associate with life becomes easier because we arent left trying to figure everything out.

3) Pray earnestly for people. When I find myself at a place in life where I pray constantly for the well being of those around me it gives me a compassionate and caring mentality and gives me the urge to be more proactive in my relationship with them. Repetition is the key here. Do not stop asking in prayer for God to be active in your relationships with others.

4) Check in with people. This goes along the same lines with #1. People want to know they are cared for. This will impact your relationships greatly if you reach out to someone and are interested in what they are going through because it builds confidence in the person you approach. They then (usually) relaize that you are a trustworthy and caring person and a person who they can count on to confide in and be uplifted by. This doesn’t have to be someone you are close with. It can be a classmate, coworker, person you see at a Worship assembly, or simply someone you pass on the street. I encourage you to stop and take time out of your busy life and to check in on people you would not normally think to ask about. God will bless your actions in ways you may not be able to see until you take action.

5) Break through boundaries with people. Jesus was a master at this, and I feel we could learn countless lessons from Christ when it comes to the lack of boundaries He had. Unfortunately people get hurt, and when people become hurt they put up a boundary to keep that from happening again. But if we look to the Author and Finisher of our faith as a guide we will see that Jesus took risks to benefit others and made Himself vulnerable to attacks on His character and to being disappointed by the outcome of situations. But that never stopped Him from reaching out to people. In my opinion we should focus on the ways Jesus took difficult situations and made them into beneficial treasures for the people He encountered, and apply such things to our lives. In doing so we will see that God will bless our actions that come from a sincere heart.

I encourage you to take these things to heart, but more importantly seek God’s Wisdom first while you navigate through your relationships with people. I hope and pray that your relationships reach their full potential and that you play a role in helping someone become stronger in their faith in God today.

Blessings

~Bryan