Tag Archives: communication

Factors of good communication


by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Communication is almost always listed in the grievances among dating and married couples who come to counseling.

As counselors try to help them through these struggles, three factors must be considered. When they are addressed and accounted for, the couple can begin to make progress.

First, communication must account for personality. Many people have a difficult time expressing their feelings. Instead, they may use other forms of speech.

A quiet husband may get up early, go to work, come home, cut the grass and take out the garbage. His wife gripes because he is not verbally expressing his love. However, he is speaking loudly through his actions and cannot understand her anger.

Someone is not going to become a completely different person in every aspect of life. At some point our personalities are set.

We can all learn to do better to accommodate our spouse. In the one-flesh marriage bond, our spouse is a part of our bodies and we care for them more than we do ourselves (Genesis 2:18-25).

Accordingly, it pains us when they are suffering. The effort made to express our feelings will be worth it in the end.

Second, communication must account for trust. We must feel safe as we open ourselves up completely to another person. This trust must be earned and it can be easily destroyed.

When someone has been hurt in the past, they will protect themselves at all costs. Their hesitation is understandable and they may have a difficult time trusting another person. The problem is that we cannot have a one-flesh bond without trust.

Third, communication must account for knowledge. When our loved one allows us into their hearts, we begin to learn more about them. The more we learn, the deeper our communication should become.

The selfish person cannot grow in this area because they do not see anything outside of themselves. We must allow our spouse true access, if they have proven themselves worthy.

True unselfish love will not allow us to hurt the other person without serious pain on our part (Ephesians 5:22-29). We know everything about our partner, yet we love them anyway. We protect and cherish them and never share their personal thoughts or fears with others.

The groundwork for communication is too often overlooked and couples suffer, as a result. Successful communication requires a large sacrifice as well as courage and patience.

When we have the type marriage God desires, we will be more than willing to do the work required because the joy will be exhilarating.

Make them talk

by Christine Berglund

I guess it started with the wildflowers we knew as “Butter and Eggs,” also commonly called “Toadflax.” Linaria Vulgaris, a member of the Snapdragon family, had been brought to America from Europe, and grows wild.

The yellow colors are reminiscent of butter and eggs, although the blooms are smaller than the cultivated variety, or “Snapdragons.”

When I was little, my mother showed me how to gently squeeze the sides of the blossom to make them open. Releasing the pressure would close it up again, as the flower resembled a bizarre mouth with a swollen lower lip and a rather grouchy face.

You have to know just where on the flower to press your fingers, but not too strongly as to crush it.

All we needed to add was a little childhood imagination, and voila! There was someone to talk to. Oh, I had brothers to talk to, but they mostly teased me – well — they still do. There was a good reason for me to escape to the world of toadflax conversations while I was little!

Our society puts a lot of value on communicating. When cell phones didn’t work during the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, legislation was demanded so that the service would not be interrupted. Those who had electricity shared it to charge cell phones of strangers. Being in touch with one another is vital.

While too many words can be as overwhelming as four bullying brothers, real communication is essential.

We have found communication by mail, television, phone, and internet invaluable in important decisions we make; from what walking shoes to buy, to making an informed decision on choosing a president.

While some of my discussions with friends have been very lively, they have not been mean-spirited as some. It is rather sad that some people have chosen not to communicate at all about matters that affect us all.

Wouldn’t it be better to learn to converse in civil tones?

The happy pastime of talking with snapdragons has been passed on to my own children. The youngest, while not a flower collector like her Mom, still loves snapdragons for that “fun factor.” Whenever we have these flowers around, she asks me to “make them talk.” We both have a good laugh!

Her real treasure is that she is a good communicator. Not in the comic-strip voices we employ for our snapdragon faces, but words that are good, pure, and edify the hearer. Words that can help others to understand what they need to know. Words that will build up and encourage people. She has her moments otherwise, to be sure; but we all do.

I sometimes worry about my words. The rebuke of the Lord to Job is frankly a little scary to me.

“Why do you talk so much when you know so little?” (Job 38:2 CEV)

Those of us who use words on a regular basis have to be careful what words we use, and how we use them. However, that should never be an excuse not to communicate fully with those we love and to people we come in contact with that need our friendship and help. As a naturally shy person, it would be easier for me to remain a wallflower, seldom speaking and noticed even less.

Take time this week to talk to somebody, or just to listen. Yes, listening is communication, too. Tell your children and your parents you love them.

Ask how somebody’s day has been. Talk to God. Ask him for the wisdom to help you talk. And get some snapdragons. They’re fun. Make them talk!

The Secret Garden

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Thomas and Rachel were exhausted from the day. Returning home brought no relief. School projects, dining, laundry, baths and arguments robbed the evening of its vigor. They needed respite from the chaos and a safe place in which to heal.

With the kids in bed, the doors secured, they fall into each other’s arms. The pressures on them lift, and the clouds part. The remains of the day wash over them and they become one in spirit and prayer as they offer their thanks to the Father.

Every marriage must have a place of peace and solitude, one that is completely their own. A garden of inexplicable beauty, where their hearts can soar and their hands can labor. Their own universe where they can escape and become young again, playing and exploring like children.

This secret garden is where their one-flesh bond grows stronger and more resilient. God placed us in marriage to be a new creation (Genesis 2:18-25). Bound together in God and in flesh, we have a bond like nothing else in existence.

We must make our one-flesh heart a walled secret garden that no one else can enter. We protect our garden, at all costs. Our hands keep the weeds away and we nurture the flowers and plants. We maintain and secure the garden like a fortress, protecting everything within.

We should not allow our children, computers or televisions to steal our time together.

Our secret garden is ours alone. We do not share our secret thoughts and dreams. Our words remain there to echo off the rock walls, rather than in the hearts and ears of the world.

We protect our spouse and remember that their privacy remains locked within the wall. We would never betray them and the secret garden. We must find time and stubbornly hold to it, so we can tend to our garden and keep it fresh and healthy. Whether this is in the form of dates or getaways, gardens need maintenance.

The Word of God becomes our manual (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and the Savior, the centerpiece of our garden (Matthew 11:29-30). He sustains it with his light and his blood courses through the walls, protecting us from harm (John 8:12; 1 John 1:7).

Is our garden healthy or broken down from neglect? If it is the latter, please start work today and save it from demolition! God gave us a present. Why would we throw it away?

Does God Still Speak?

by Tim Hall
Has God stopped talking to people?
bibleshade.jpgThe common perception is that God stopped communicating with humanity millennia ago. When John put down his pen after completing the Apocalypse, a long period of silence from heaven commenced. Is this perception correct?
Jesus’ response to the Sadducees gives insight on this question. Part of his answer is recorded in Matthew 22:31,32: “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (NKJV).
The words Jesus quoted were from Exodus 3:6. God identified himself to Moses as being the God of Abraham and all of his descendants. To whom did God speak in this passage? Everyone knows the answer: He spoke to Moses.
Jesus, however, goes further by saying to the Sadducees that God’s statement “… was spoken to you.” Though this misguided sect lived 1,500 years after Moses’ encounter with God, the words spoken from the burning bush were still true. The Sadducees were still responsible for heeding these words.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God …” wrote Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16. “Inspiration” means “God-breathed”. The breath of God gave life to Adam’s newly created body of flesh (Genesis 2:7). This same breath gives life to the words of scripture. Though written centuries ago, the words are still alive.
Here’s another statement of this truth: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). No other book can make such claims. No other book is God-breathed.
My physical ears have never heard God’s voice. My heart hears it, though, every time I open the pages of this amazing book. God is not silent. He still speaks to all who will listen.
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).