February 22, 2011

Marriage 101: Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Maximizing Communication

This week was a little different in that we had a substitute substitute speaker! Pastor Paul was preaching to the church this Sunday, so he obviously couldn't lead class at the same time, so Pastor Troy was going to teach. But apparently he got really sick late the night before, so his father led us. Two awesome facts about him- {1} He has been married 53 years (I can only hope!!!) and {2} As a teenager he promised God that he would read a book of the Bible EVERY DAY. He's very thankful some days for books like Philemon :)

Anyway, because of the late night speaker change, we didn't follow as closely to our outlines/books and it was more of a general knowledge sharing session. I'll share the basic outline first and then his insights. 

{ 1 Peter 3:7 }
"Likewise husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered"
- Understanding way = according to knowledge with study. A husband should be increasingly aware of his wife's physical, emotional and spiritual needs. 
- Weaker vessel = not intellectually weaker, but physically and emotionally. This also includes the fact that we put ourselves in a weaker position by submitting to our husbands. 
- Showing honor = considering someone as valuable and precious (Eph. 5:29 - cherish is the same word used in 1 Thes. 2:7 as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children)

{ Our general differences }
1. How we think: Men are focused and categorical, women are holistic and integrated
2. How we talk: Men use minimal words for the purpose of facts and solutions. Women use maximum words and convey emotions for the purpose of empathy.
3. How we find things important: Men are interested in the big things, women are interested in all things.
4. How we communicate: Men go side-by-side in recreational settings (golf), women talk face-to-face in conversational settings (coffee)
5. How we perceive things: Men primarily use their eyes, Women use their ears. 

Our differences are the things that can make us strongest- it takes two different eyes to have depth perception! The hard part is understanding and working with the differences. 

There are two main things outside the outline that really stuck out to me that were shared (mostly to the guys). The first was to listen to your wife's gut instinct. Not that it's always right, or often even logical; but God will often give cautions that way. He told the story of a business in Texas he knew that got out of a deal which they later found out to be fraudulent because multiple exec's wives had "bad feelings" about it, and they listened to them. I mean, it was Pilate's wife who cautioned him not to get involved in the crucifixion...

The second thing was a list of "steps to harmonious marriage communication" he was given at a conference 30 years ago. He kept it and passed it on because it turned around his marriage after his wife told him he wasn't doing well supporting her emotionally. It involves {1} setting a specific time each week {2}selecting a characteristic of Christ (he gave us a list of 49 with corresponding verses), {3}writing a letter/discussing together how we each demonstrate the attribute, feel when it is demonstrated or not, share specific times where it has been and hasn't, respond to it and how God builds us with or without it, {4} pray together about achieving the characteristic and {5} memorizing the corresponding Scripture together. 
We started with "attentiveness" (Heb 2:1) and I can't wait to work our way through the list and grow to understand each other even more! 



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