Are you REALLY a good listener? I hear parents say things like "he's hard of hearing", or "she has selective listening." Those comments may evoke a laugh, but sadly people learn from a young age to tune out what's going on around them. We barely hear the audible words, much less listen and watch closely for the unspoken cues.
As a young wife, I really thought I was a good communicator. I did go to college to become an educator. So, of course I was an effective communicator, right? Well, I use to think I was, but I was definitely WRONG! I know this comes as a shock, but I'm a good talker! I am a social butterfly and enjoy talking, however, I am not naturally a good listener. Sure I hear the words that people say, but I haven't always been good at truly listening to the message. This led to me dominating the conversations and communication between us.
I gave my husband very little voice within our marriage which caused him to slowly check out of the relationship. Since everything was going my way, I was oblivious to what was happening around me.
As I look back on the problems that were in my marriage, it's crystal clear now! Unfortunately, our communication slipped away very slowly like the sand in an hour-glass. It was so slow and subtle that neither of us recognized it. The depth of our conversations diminished and everything was superficial and mundane. We were just going through the motions, but there was no life within our marriage. This eventually led to our separation.
I Peter 5:8 ~ Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Although we both knew Christ, we were not walking with Him. After he left, I found my way back to Christ. I have learned that the devil is truly like a roaring lion, and he does come to steal, kill, and destroy lives, marriages, and families. When our guard is down, he attacks viciously to destroy relationships. It can happen so quickly and subtly that we may not even notice it.
My marriage ended in an undesired divorce. We paid a high price for our mistakes. There are so many things that I honestly wish I could go back and fix. I can't dwell on the past, but I can use it as a catalyst for positive change. I have learned that effective communication starts with Christ. When I communicate with Him, he helps me to communicate effectively with others. I trust Him to lead, guide, and direct my footsteps. In order to stand firm against the schemes of the enemy, I put on the full armor of God by praying, taking authority against evil, and standing firm on God's word.
Ephesians 6:10-17 ~ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Research tells us that communication is 10 percent spoken and 90 percent unspoken. Stop and think about your skills as a communicator. Would your spouse, friends, and family say you are a good listener? What can you do to become a better communicator?
Here are some of our favorite resources for improving communication: