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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

We have all heard that “communication is key” but what are the keys to good communication?
What makes communication break down in the first place? I remember hearing a radio talk show many years ago, a man was describing how he and his wife had two totally different views about how you take care of a sick person. He was down with a cold, and asked her for some orange juice, she came back with what he thought to be a thimble full, and his expectation of a big tumbler full was unfulfilled. The two  were raised differently, one with small glasses of O.J.  being left alone to sweat it out, the other being pampered with lots of juice, soup and attention. Case in point, communication is not just words, and it is also important to note that whatever it is, goes through a sort of prism of our own personal experiences, thought processes, and communication styles.

What goes out of our mouth, hits the ear of the hearer, goes through the filter of their point of reference, bents, insecurities, etc. and they take it the way they do according to that. Each person has their own filter.  What the difficult task is , is to be completely vulnerable in exposing our filters to the people around us, so they understand our communication styles. This of course includes our insecurities, anxieties, fears, opinions etc.  My husband grew up in a large, loud, Spanish speaking  family.  They all spoke over one another, and nobody took it with any offense.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a family where you didn’t communicate at all, and children were to “speak when spoken to” ” seen and not heard”.  No noise at the dinner table etc, so when I first experienced my husband loud talking, I thought he was angry with me, and broke down crying.  He and my children to this day speak with passion, a bit loud, but I understand this to be their style.  They on their part, speak to me with a softer tone, and try to be mindful of my need for a  less robust conversation.

How do we find the best way to speak to each other? I tried to think of the best communicator of all time, and  of Jesus, it is said: (John 1:1)” in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was GOD….and vs 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us” The very word of God, came to earth and became a man so that we would know how to live in this world amongst each other in a bond of love and in humility.

In the book of John, Christ used the term ‘ Verily, Verily I say unto you’… no less than 18 times. In one book!  When a word is spoken twice, it means listen carefully.  I think we have to take notice of this first off, as he knows our  propensity to listen with only half of our attention.  We need to be sure that the person is really taking a hard listen if we have an important thing to impart to them.  Don’t expect them to be listening intently to your heart felt outpourings if you don’t get their undivided attention first. Also notice, we may need to repeat ourselves.

Jesus spoke to the disciples, and crowds  in Parables ( stories which teach lessons ).  Jesus used things very familiar to the people around Him to paint mental pictures so that they would understand the things He was trying to impart to them.  Many times, we need to find a thing that our spouse, or child, friend etc. can relate to, and use that to paint a picture of how something may be affecting us, or maybe what we may need from them.  Whether it is using children’s toys or a husbands computer program, or car engine, golf game etc. There is a way to ‘story tell’ so that making a parallel using that imagery will help them connect with you.  Reading the Parables will help understand what I mean here.

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth, from what I have read about this, Jesus being a Rabbi, would have understood that  sacrifices and blessings were made with an application of salt. Salt was used to preserve, to purify, to bless, and to flavor.  When we communicate anything to one another, let us keep in mind, that we are called the salt of the Earth, which should heal one another, and purify, when one is in the wrong, salt will draw out the poison of sin ( in 2 Kings 19 Elisha threw salt into the poison well to heal it, and turn the water sweet)  apply the words of restoration to them in love = salt, Blessing = salt we should be blessing each other by actions, and words, every day, without fail. Jesus is our example, and He gives us all we need to carry out loving one another in this way… ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

He has given us the key, He knows us- each one of us Intimately, our very  hairs are numbered, he knows our hearts,  our failings, and the things we have endured.  We can trust that He will give us the wisdom to use the keys He has given us to lovingly, communicate with one another.  As we desire to do what is in the best interest of the people we love, We can’t go wrong in seeking Him for guidance and wisdom in the process.

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Sgs 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it.

Yesterday I wrote about something personal, I had shared with you how I had been unwise with my words, tearing my husband down, making him feel hollowed out- ready to give up. As I had said, everything worked out, we are closer than ever. So what is the key? How do you survive the storms that beat against the very soul of your marriage? For one, I think it is important for us to remember that we all grow, and change, but the core of our who we are is always there. If you don’t spend time discovering what is going on inside your spouse, you should. Most men change career paths at least once in their adulthood and sometimes many more . If he is changing careers often, maybe he is on a path to self discovery. Are you supporting him, helping him find out who he is, and what his passions are? Where he may be lacking fulfillment? Husband, are you loving her and trying to understand her need for nesting, for security, and stability? As a woman, she has these needs instinctively, because she bares the children. God put it in her nature to be the nurturer, the ‘nester’ (Oh Geez, I sound like Grandma Moses here, but it’s true)! You pay close attention to the in ‘unspoken’ between the lines, after reading this, and you will catch my drift. There is also her personal dreams and aspirations, are you encouraging her in her talents? Do you know what her dreams are?  The other key is that each one of you are important, you should be just as interested in your partners dreams and aspirations, and be equally involved in the process.  Have you ever sewn a garment, and had the tension on the sewing machine be out of calibration, your top stitches may seem to be just fine, but the moment you expose the underside, you see the missing thread, and it causes the seam to come apart as it had not been passed through at all. Tension in a marriage is a good thing, it draws us into intimate conversation, into deeper trust for one another as we battle through the times of discord.  I love the chorus from a song by Sixpence which goes…

“but tension is to be loved
when it is like a passing note
to a beautiful, beautiful chord ”

I love that!  It is so true, tension passes in and out of our relationships, and as it does, it creates a symphony of beautiful and wonderful harmonies which would never be possible without it. In these times though, it is so easy to play the blame game, trying to project your frustrations onto your spouse for your own  lack of fulfillment, or you  bring up issues that were supposed to be forgiven and forgotten, going down an ever growing laundry list of wrongs you have suffered at their “cruel hand”.  This one is good, The I have to get my point across, even if it has no relevance to what you are talking about.   How about the silent treatment?  Going to bed not talking to one another- or worse, sending your spouse to the proverbial “dog house”  (The Couch).  God’s word says “don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry” Eph. 4:26. There is great wisdom in this, number one, talk it out before bed. Number two, if you are able, I mean size wise, get a queen size bed, no larger, if you have your foot touch when you are still cooling after a feud, there isn’t much chance of staying upset for long. Besides, it cuts down on your heating bill. : )

We have seen far too many people get divorced after 20+ years of marriage, saying that they just grew apart, or they just didn’t love one another any more. I for the life of me can’t imagine how I could ever live without my husband, our love grows deeper as we grow older. I can certainly understand what the causes may be however, which would bring the failure of a long term marriage. First, along the journey together, you go through many phases, or chapters of your life together. The newlywed years, traveling, no kids, then the babies, working allot, spending much of your time focused on these things. Then the years where you have teens, and aging parents at the same time, then all the graduations, weddings…eventually the empty nest. Where did time go? Who are you? They didn’t kindle the fire of their love at every opportunity. Did they get away for romantic weekends? Did they have a date night, or was date night in front of the boob tube with a beer watching bowling for dollars? Look, if you are as poor as dirt, you can pack little picnic  supper of finger foods, a blanket,  and have a very romantic evening under the stars somewhere.
Keep the fires of romance burning, and the communication happening. No matter where you are on the road map in your marriage, you must take romantic respites.  We would go camping over a weekend, farmed out the children to friends, later we would rent a home at the coast. Whatever you do, for an evening, or weekend, you need to keep the home fires burning, and that candle of romance lit! Oh, and have you made a good play list for your ipod? your special play list of slow dance music?  You can slow dance together when the kids go to sleep… Isn’t it romantic?

One thing my husband and I do, we go on walks every evening. Ever since we were first married, since we didn’t get a honeymoon, we have had a thing where we ask each other: ” If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” We then proceed to paint a scenario together of a grand fantasy vacation, of course, we are walking at quite a clip, I don’t know if I am hyperventilating because of the speed we are walking, or because I am in my fantasy world! It is things like this that we have that just make the tough times seem more than bearable, they are endearing, and special to us.  I have covered allot of ground here today, and in summing things up in my mind, what I learned through the tension we have been through lately, is that we are going into another chapter of our lives.  My husband is in pursuit of something we aren’t sure what yet, but he is so creative, it may take many more tries to find it out.  Furthermore, that tension brought me into a more intimate knowledge of who he is, and I love him even more,  and I am excited to see what is in store. On his part, there isn’t a single thing he wouldn’t do for me or support me in. I wouldn’t be able to share any of this without his careful and consistent affirmation over the years.

Couples, love is a choice, and a commitment you make, but when it is the two of you facing the world and it’s challenges together, rather than being faced off against each other, (or in it for yourself), time passes quickly, and you still feel like newlyweds, only without all the uncertainties. Now , go get that icechest,  and whisk that special someone off to a romantic evening…don’t forget the blanket!

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Things have been hard in the world lately. It has been hard to hang on to what we have, whether it be a job, house, relationship, it is just intense these days! I was reflecting this morning on how hard it has been on my husband, he has allot of pressure on him. The times when we are in the crucible of trials is when we need someone to be solidly behind us. We need words of affirmation, and the confidence building that assures them that everything is going to be O.K. Think about the marriage vow, “… in richer and in poorer, in sickness and in health” a commitment and promise was made that assured that other person that you wouldn’t let them down , even in the worst of circumstances.
In Ephesians chapter five, Paul states no less than three times that the man should love his wife, and once that he should “cleave to her”. It is not there for arbitrary reasons, and three times?
We can be hard to love sometimes, we can nitpick him, nag, place all sorts of heavy expectations on him. We make excuses for it, like “I am having PMS” or “Menopause” or “I am having your child!” What does Paul say to us women? “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto The Lord” (Eph. 5:22)
Ladies, he makes mistakes, men, you make mistakes, but we have to bring those to the Lord, and HONOR you with solidarity and affirmation. We are partners, we are in this together, a team. If one is down, that other team member must be there to pick the other up. ( Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
Ecc 4:10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. )
It is so easy to break the spirit of your spouse. I cannot emphasize that enough. It is so easy to tear down, and hollow them out to the brink of complete despondency. If this is learned before it is too late, it can make a world of difference. One pastor said one Sunday, that the best thing that parents can do for their children is to love one another, and be affectionate toward each other. This teaches the children what a nurturing marriage should look like, and theirs will have that much more chance of success. I have to confess, I have not been a nurturing and affirming wife lately, and have never seen my husband so hollowed out. He is usually the most confident, upbeat, inspiring person you will ever meet. My words have torn him down to the very core of his being, and I have a heavy heart. I am thankful our children are grown. All that I share with you is from experience, and forty nine years of learning at the University of Hard Knocks. I am confident my best friend and I will get all things sorted out, we always have these thirty years, but what I learned through this situation is that I never want to see my best friend and husband lacking in my affirmation and support ever again.

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Sometimes it is hard for people to believe that if they would ‘simply love’, and ‘love simply’ things would be much different in their relationships.  You have heard it said, “you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself”  I take issue with that statement, because at the root of it is “self”.  I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I learned quickly, when you have a baby, that your time is no longer your own, and you become a servant, a person who’s full attention is on other peoples needs but your own.  Those parents who are our “toxic” variety all have one thing in common: they are selfish! Look closely next time.  What is going on when you see on the news about a parent who is getting children taken away… They are so into their own life, they should not have had kids in the first place.  So, If you ask me, if you want to love with real love, you need to empty yourself of your pride, and selfishness, and be a giver, a servant, hospitable and kind.  Old fashioned concept? Sure, but  we are still people who have the same needs as always, children have the same needs.  Have you ever stopped and thought about what was at the very bottom of your last fight?  Was it selfishness on either part? I can’t imagine it not being. If you do as it says in Philippians, (I’m paraphrasing) esteem each other higher than yourselves, or try to outdo one another in kindnesses. You will be shocked how amazingly happy your relationships will be!  You see, God wants to teach us about His character, we can’t out-give Him He is so generous and kind, but if we are so worried about what we have, keeping what we have, “what am I going to get out of it” we miss the real blessings.

It isn’t a song until it’s sung
It isn’t a bell until it’s rung
It isn’t Love until it is given away!

What is Love? Here is the definition:

1Cr 13:4       Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
1Cr 13:5       does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
1Cr 13:6       does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cr 13:7       bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8       Love never fails

Is it simple to love simply and simply love? If you are not self centered it is, if you are following God’s plan for your life it is easier… God is the embodiment and the essence of Love. It stands to reason that with him at the helm, you can certainly break the cycle of toxic parenting. Until next time… Love simply.

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