Today is Norma Jean’s birthday.
It reminds me of a man who asked his wife, “What would you most like for your birthday?”
She said, “I’d love to be ten again.”
On the morning of her birthday, he got her up bright and early and they went to a theme park. He put her on every ride in the park – the Death Slide, The Screaming Loop, the Wall of Fear.
She had a go on every ride there was. She staggered out of the theme park five hours later, her head reeling and her stomach turning.
Then they were off to a movie theater where they ate popcorn and sweets and drank Cola. At last she staggered home with her husband and collapsed into bed.
Her husband leaned over and asked, “Well, dear, what was it like being ten again?” One eye opened and she groaned, “Actually, honey, I meant dress size!”
Well, at least that isn’t an issue for my lovely, size 8 wife!
Getting a birthday gift is difficult. But the bigger problem in most marital relationships is actually communication. Conversation is one of the top five emotional needs of most women and some men.
One evening a man and his wife called another couple to see what they were doing. “Oh,” said the other wife, “we’re just drinking coffee and talking.” As she hung up the phone, she demanded, “Why don’t we ever do that?
They’re just drinking coffee and talking.” Her husband said, “So make a pot of coffee.”
They sat with their freshly brewed coffee, just staring at each other in silence. “Well, call them back,” he directed, “and find out what they’re talking about.”
Communication is tough. Challenging. Tricky. Sometimes we miss what the other person really wants!
Let me briefly bullet some suggestions that will help improve your communication. Read the referenced scripture. And make personal application.
◆Learn to really listen. Don’t interrupt. Don’t second guess. Don’t judge motives. Just focus on your loved one and listen with your ears and your heart. (James 1:19)
◆Set aside some time for undivided attention. While a lot of communication is spontaneous, research has shown that strong couples intentionally carve out time to talk about their day, share their feelings and discuss their hopes, dreams and fears (Eph 5:16-17)
◆Be transparent. Ephesians 4:16 admonishes us to “speak the truth in love.” Truth is transparent. Illuminated by light. Open and honest.
◆ Be sensitive to your mate’s feelings. Men and women are typically different in their expressiveness. Men tend to communicate from the head and women from the heart. (1 Pet. 3:7)
◆Deal with communication issues. Don’t ignore them. Address them as quickly as possible (Eph 4:26). Cope with one issue at a time. Lovingly communicate what the issue really is. Then work together to solve the problem.
◆Be positive in your outlook. Sure, bad things happen. Problems occur. And sin can and does invade our hearts and homes. But be positive in your attitude and approach to solving your problems. If you focus too much on a small problem area, it will seem worse than it really is. (Eph 4:32)
◆Communicate with God and let God communicate with you. In other words–pray! And read the Bible. A lot of communication issues can be overcome and resolved when our spiritual commitments are valued, and our love for God is shared. (Deut. 6:4-6).
Good communication builds and bonds. It creates a sense of belonging. It’s the lifeblood of your relationship.
Now, excuse me, while I figure out what I’m going to do for Norma Jean’s birthday!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman