Friday, 27 March 2009

What are you saying? Communication is key..

To me, communication is a bedrock of a relationship. If everything rises and falls on leadership as John Maxwell says, relationships thrive or wilt depending on how partners communicate. I looked up the word communicate on and came up with the following definitions/descriptions. impart knowledge of; make known: to communicate information; to communicate one's happiness.
2. to give to another; impart; transmit: to communicate a disease. give or interchange thoughts, feelings, information, or the like, by writing, speaking, etc.: They communicate with each other every day. express thoughts, feelings, or information easily or effectively. be joined or connected: The rooms communicated by means of a hallway.

So basically it's an exchange between I and Mr O, I and my mum, I and whoever I am communicating with of ideas, thoughts, feeling, information e.t.c. Pastor says that communication involves three basic principles. Talking, listening and understanding. Get these 3 right and we will save ourselves a lot of stress. He also mentioned that for communication to occur there must be a speaker, a medium through which communication goes through and the receiver and also from speaker to receiver there are certain guidelines that should be put in place before effective communication can occur.

We haven't discussed this topic in full detail and by the grace of God, I hope to share what I have learnt and how I'm practically applying what I'm learning. This is an area of great interest to me because effective communication is not one of my strongest points. I and Mr O started out as friends, as in just friends. We attended the same church and were placed in the same department to serve. Funny enough, I and his younger brother were even closer friends and I used to see him as my friends's amazing what a few years can do to you isn't it? I always encourage my sisters, please develop relationships with people even outside of your comfort zone. He may not really seem like who you think he should be but always keep an open mind plus an open ear to God who is the one who reveals the thoughts and intents of the hearts of man!

From acquaintances to friends, to closer friends, to almost brother/sister to courtship should have been a smooth transition shouldn't it? I mean we had known each other for almost seven years before we started thinking about a 'relationship' so our foundation should have been strong and solid as a rock..yes? NO, a very big NO if I may add. Now, there are two sides to every story and unfortunately Mr O cannot come and share his side but well..maybe? A lot of issues that we had at the beginning of our relationship were in my opinion due to a lack of communication on both sides. We were both assuming (ASS-U-ME..get it!) a lot of things about the other rather than finding a way to talk through issues and importantly RESOLVE them. It's no point going back and forth over an issue when each person is trying to prove their point without it gearing towards RESOLUTION (Dang, Holy Spirit, this must be a setup so that there's somewhere to put me back in order when I go offtrack!).

When something happens, I would rather talk about it there and then and get it over with, no so with my oga, he withdraws into himself until he can find his answer and keep on stepping. I've been told this is typical of men and women. As I liked to say it then and there, I never used to take into account timing with respect to communication. There is a time to talk and a time to keep quiet the Bible says, there is also a way to talk..FG did an excellent post on this here. For good communication, one must speak, the other must listen and both must UNDERSTAND.

To prevent myself from raising my voice when I'm particularly bothered about an issue, I write it in an email, this helps me structure my thoughts as there is no way to delete a spoken word although I might add a big part of communication is non-verbal so there are some discussions better suited for face to face. There was an instance where I sent the email and was shocked, hurt, angered and really bitter about the response I received. I asked myself how Mr O could possibly read the meaning he read from the words I sent. I too sent my own missile. Isn't it funny how we throw bombs at each other and raise our hands in surprise when all around is debris!

Thank God for God in this instance, He spoke to Mr O who spoke to me kindly and tenderly. We discussed the issue, understood where the other person was coming from, which enabled us forgive each other and deepened our relationship. I must say that when the Bible says all things will work together for your good it has been true to us. From every major misunderstanding we have had (there haven't been that many!!) we have by the grace of God emerged stronger. It is only by His grace, I can't even boast. I am trying and striving to commit every area of my relationship to the One who is the author and finisher, He does not create confusion but makes everything beautiful in it's time.

I believe in terms of communication we still have some way to go but I trust God will be with us every step of the way. I am learning to think about what I say/write before doing it, also to go with God's guidance regarding timing, saying the right thing at the wrong time can sometimes come across the wrong way. I'm learning and growing. Love is a good thing and not only between a man and a woman. One of my personal favourite sayings is that relationships are mirrors through which we view ourselves. I can't wait for the next class to get some more tips for effective communication.


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