This past week, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the NAME Marriage Conference in Edmonton. In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the nuggets of wisdom that were shared at the conference.
Bill and Pam Farrel shared with candor and humor. Their first session was about how we relate differently.
- Being perfect is NOT a good pursuit in life! The goal is to be on a journey together. Take your vows seriously, but not yourselves.
- Our differences fascinate us . . . and they frustrate us. Genesis 1:27
- Most couples don’t know what to do with their differences
- Men are like waffles: They tend to think in boxes, and spend time in one box at a time. As men mature they jump boxes faster, but they always have one single focus at a time. Men are problem solvers. If men get to a box and don’t know what a solution is, they just move on. Some boxes are just plain empty.
- Women are like spaghetti: Women integrate like a plate of noodles that all touch each other. We travel through life making emotional connections. Multi-tasking is a gift to women, but it can be frustrating to our husbands.
Men and Women Relate Differently
Most couples live with an assumption in their relationship – all conversations are going to be good for both of us. This isn’t true. We need to take turns when it’s time for communication.
The point is to help her finish. If the woman thinks you see her as important, she will want to connect with you. When trust is reignited, a woman is ready to connect. For women, the relationship is built on trust, not content. Men need to pack their bags and go on a listening journey.
Women need to stay in the box with men. Guys do have feelings, they are just slow to reveal themselves. Feelings sink to the bottom of every box. The key to unlock your husband’s heart is to let them live in the box they feel safe in. Become a great listener. Instead of seeing and opening issues surrounding the box your husband is talking about, stay in the box.
Romans 15:7 – accept the person the way God made him.
It’s easy to see differences as flaws. Some things are hard-wired in! I’m going to accept you the way God made you, not the way I wish God made you.
When a man solves problems he uses only one side of his brain; A woman uses both sides of her brain when solving a problem.
When a man eats, the part of his brain that makes him feel happier is stimulated; When a woman eats, the part of her brain that sharpens her eyesight is stimulated. She becomes more aware of her environment and has more to talk about. Relationship works better when food is involved.
Our differences cause us to communicate differently.
4 Levels of Communication:
- Small Talk – helpful in determining which relationships to continue or to get things done.
- Thoughts and Ideas – preferences; goal is to share the idea with the willingness to defer to the other person.
- Opinions and convictions – you share who you really are (Morals, ethics, raising kids, God, political persuasions) Your best friends tend to agree with you. If you have a high level of agreement as husband and wife, you will have less conflict. You need to make appointments to talk about these things.
- Emotional connection – All of us are a combination of what we think and what we feel. Decisions need to be made based on truth. Some things in life you just love and some things you’re just not interested in. One of the reasons you’re with the person you’re with is because you share “chemistry”.
When you load up your life with responsibility, you have to have a way to keep the emotional connection. James 1:19
Four Steps to Being a Great Listener:
- Repeat Key Phrases
- Rephrase (What I hear you saying is ….)
- Regroup (Am I in the ballpark?)
- Reconnect (Is it a little like this…?)
The choice is always yours – conflict or connection