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.