Successful Families Communicate Effectively

            Many  years ago Dr. John Baucom wrote: “With the appearance of the two bathroom home, Americans forgot how to cooperate.  With the appearance of the two car family, we forgot how to associate, and with the coming of the two television home, we forgot how to communicate.”   I wonder what Dr. Baucom would write today!    With computers, ipads, and smart phones, it’s more challenging than ever to engage in face-to-face family communication. 

            Yesterday, I began a four-week class at the Henderson Boulevard Church here in Tampa on “Building Bridges to a Better Marriage.”  I told the couples that if I only had one opportunity to share something that would make a difference in their relationship it would be on communication.  

COMMUNICATION REALLY IS THE KEY

            Admittedly there are many components to a successful family.  A mutually fulfilling marriage is founded upon commitment, trust and self-sacrificing love.   Successful parenting begins with building your home on godly values.  Many tips can be given that are helpful.  Yet, no family can grow strong and emotionally bonded without open, loving communication.  The Bible addresses the importance of communication in hundreds of verses that can apply to our families.  The wise man said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov.25:11).  

            Dr. Paul Faulkner, in his book What Every Family Needs, writes, “Communication is to love what blood is to the body.  When communication stops, love begins to die.”  Several years ago Redbook magazine surveyed 830 marriage counselors to determine the main problems married couples faced.  Not surprisingly, communication was number one.  My experience supports their conclusion.  Often couples feel they have a problem with money, intimacy, or in-laws, but really it’s communication.   Jay E. Adams was right when he wrote, “A sound husband and wife relationship is impossible apart from good communication. A healthy relationship between parents and children depends on such communication. 

For communication within your home to be healthy and effective it must intimately relate to others in the family.  The Bible speaks of a husband and wife becoming “one flesh.”  This involves more than a sexual union.  It involves mental, emotional and spiritual  oneness.  There must be social intercourse. Interaction. Discussion.  Discourse.  For this to occur at least three things are necessary.           

(1) Connecting.  There is a principle enunciated by Stephen Covey, “First seek to understand rather than be understood.”  Effective communication involves connecting with our spouse.  Our children. Our parents.  It involves seeing what they see.  Understanding what they understand.  Feeling what they feel. Or as Ron Jensen puts it, “It is getting into his or her shoes and catching that person’s perspective.”  Husbands are commanded to “live with your wives in an understanding way” (I Pet. 3:7).  The requires connection.

(2) Clarifying.  Many communication issues come from a lack of clarity.  Either not understanding the other person, or failing to see how an issue can be effectively resolved. To get clarity, listen closely. Ask questions. Discuss possibilities. Explore alternatives.  You family’s communication will improve by seeking greater clarity. 

(3) Control.  To often we react instead of respond.  Reaction is almost always rash and reckless.  James advised, “Let each one be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  When we react the result is often ill-advised words.  Angry words.  Regretful words.  Instead learn to respond.  That calls for emotional control.  The wise man was right, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).  

Want a better marriage?  A closer relationship with your children?  A happier home?  Realize the importance of your communication and work to improve it. Learn to Connect. Clarify.  Control.  And you will enjoy the satisfaction of a successful family life. 

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

8 Comments

Filed under Communication, Family

8 responses to “Successful Families Communicate Effectively

  1. John Grant

    Great post Ken. Today most people don’t even know their neighbors. Real communication has before a lost art.

    Keep up the good work

  2. Rich Walker

    Ken, great topic and a great series. Something well all need, or refresher training, how to build stronger marriages and homes. Will there be CDs available?

  3. Ron Davenport

    Very good! Wholeheartly agree. Less Facebook; more face to face interaction! God bless your work in Kansas!

  4. Carolyn Parslow

    I love this article. It is so needed in today’s relationships. Thanks, Ken.

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