Archive for the couple Category
In secular psychology, there was an emphasis on openness and honesty, where couples were encouraged to share every thought and feeling with the idea that they would have more intimacy. John read this and one day came home after work shared with his wife Suzan his feelings at the restaurant during his lunch break. John just got married about six months ago. He met with his college mate at the restaurant and he felt like going on a date with her. Upon telling Suzan, she was devastated. How could John think that? John tried by all means to assure Suzan that it was just a thought that flashed through the mind, this made the wife to place John on the unfaithfulness watch. This broke the confidence in their marriage. It was not long after this episode the family broke.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to intimacy among spouse. There is need to depend upon the wisdom of God in developing our intimacy. Like I said in the last blog, communication is the principal thing, and to have good communication, there is need for wisdom. This wisdom comes from above. One of the principles we must understand is that meanings cannot be transferred. So in attempt to deepen your intimacy understand different levels of communication.
There is the casual communication of how are you? Many respond to without thinking ‘fine’. Many couples have this level of communication in their relationship. Others less thoughtful communication are have a good day.” “I love you.” “Be careful.” “See you later.” “Goodnight.” “Take care. Although they are good but nobody thinks deeply on this before responding on this statements. This is just public communication that does not tell the other person what the partner is passing through. The wife of a brother asked the husband who has gone to work for two weeks how was the work? He responded fine. Away for two weeks the wife wants to hear more than one word for such long time away from home. Others answer Hmm to all the request of their spouse. This will not bring intimacy. It is good but there is a better way leading to intimacy.
Next to this level is the when the spouse is talking to the partner although pay attention but just keep getting fact without volunteering any contribution. This is not going to promote intimacy. It is like listening to News without any contribution from the listener. It is reporter’s mode of communication. Many couples simply share with each other the facts that are necessary to carry on daily life, but their relationship doesn’t go beyond that. Some couples that communicate regularly on this level think that they really have good communication. In reality, little intellectual, emotional, spiritual, or physical intimacy can be built on this level of communication. This is good but there is a better way
The next one is opinion sharing. This level is better than just reporting fact to one another. It is bringing your opinion to the issue that your partner placed on the table. The statement in this level is like I wish we could go to warmer place than here this year since our children are now grown to take care of themselves without our supervision. I think we should bring grandma from the village to where she can have better care. This will give the partner the chance to read other’s mind and contribute immensely. In this there is conflict of opinion but they can agree to their disagreements through mutual talking and view of each other. Typically when people talk on this level, they watch for the response of the other person. If the other person responds positively to their ideas, they continue talking and asking questions from each other. If the other person, however, has a negative response that is expressed in words or facial expressions (a frown, raised eyebrows, narrowed eyes, a yawn), then the other person may quickly bring the conversation to a close and retreat to a safer subject.
Intimacy building communication must give freedom to other to think differently. It is not necessary that a couple agree on every subject. They can talk on the subject amicably; it does not mean they will agree on all. Such differences need not affect their intimacy. But when one tries to force the other to agree with his opinions, then intimacy evaporates and argument or silence prevails.
The next and the best level is when we talk at emotional level. It’s telling about how you feel. Hurt, disappointed, angry, happy, sad, excited, bored, unloved, romantic, or lonely. Many couples don’t feel like expressing their feeling for it makes them feel weak and not in control. There are some who feels like sleeping with their spouse but will not say it so that the partner will not see them as being loose. For most people, sharing feelings is more difficult than sharing thoughts. Our feelings are more private. Some people are so private that they even keep privacy with their spouse. What we feel about something most vividly communicates our uniqueness as a person
Many couples seldom communicate on this level because they fear that their emotions will not be accepted. A wife says to her husband, “I really have been feeling depressed for the last few days,” to which the husband responds, “Depressed? Woman, how could you feel depressed with all the things you have?” Chances are the conversation is over, and the wife will be reluctant to share her feelings from that point on.
When we repress our feelings, our spouse is left to imagine what is going on inside of us. Couples often misread each other and develop misunderstandings. In order to stimulate communication, we must come to accept the fact that we will feel differently, even about the same thing. This will lead couples to open level that speaks the truth in love and they are honest about each other. It allows each of us the freedom to think differently and feel differently. Rather than condemning one another, we seek to understand our spouse’s thoughts and feelings, looking for ways to grow together in spite of our differences.
Finally my prayer is that God will build our homes.
In the last blog I concluded by saying intimacy can be achieved only by following the pattern of God in His relationship with man. Intimacy is a precious need for all couples, but we may need to learn to put up with some mess to find the real treasure. This is buttressed by this story told by Stanley Carvell and I quote, “In March 1995, The New England Pipe Cleaning Company of Watertown, Connecticut, was digging twenty-five feet beneath the streets of Revere, Massachusetts, in order to clean a clogged ten-inch sewer line. In addition to the usual materials one might expect to find in a clogged sewer line, the three-man team found sixty-one rings, vintage coins, eyeglasses, and silverware, all of which they were allowed to keep. Whether it’s pipes or people, if you put up with some mess, sometimes you find real treasure”
In this illustration we can see the effect of clearing up the debris and the benefit. Couples need to clean up for close up through speaking. The potential for knowing God is borne out of the fact that God spoke. Holy men wrote down what God spoke and these become the will of God for man. There is no one that can know the partner intimately without the partner speaking. Paul reiterated this when he asked who could know the thought of man, none except by the spirit of man. There is no way you can read any individual as a book but only when he speaks. You only know what is going on in your mind; no one can read your mind save by questioning and by responding.
Body language is supposed to tell us about people by the way they fold their arms, cross their legs, sit, mold the mouth, or use facial expressions. It is true that we can pick up cues from a person’s behavior, but we can never know what is in others’ minds simply by looking at them. Verbal communication is essential in order to understand what is going on inside other people. If they do not tell us their thoughts, their feelings, and their experiences, we are left to guess. Unfortunately, our guess is usually wrong, and we misunderstand them. That is why communication is an absolute necessity if we are to reach intimacy.
I like to adapt S. Chapman illustration about the assumed communication pattern that people exhibit that keeps intimacy for a short time but later spelt doom for the marriage. He used four different kinds of fowls. These fowls are Dove, Hawk, Owl and Ostrich.
There are couples whose partners don’t want trouble and for that reason they consent to whatever their spouse says. They don’t want trouble and for that reason they always agree with their spouse even though resent it in their inner being. The result of this, the ‘dove spouse’ seeks for refuge outside the home. He tries to burn all his time in the office and with other friends or get involved in other activity but avoid time with the partner. The hawk is the next one. This is Mr. or Mrs. Right always. Anything that happens is the fault of the partner. The blamer is the boss, the dictator, and the one in charge who never does wrong. Typical hawk statements are, “You never do anything right. You always botch it up. I don’t understand how you could be so stupid. If it weren’t for you, everything would be fine.” They appear strong but in reality they are weak emotionally. They only derive joy in getting somebody to do their bidding. This made them to feel better about themselves.
The third fowl is the Owl. The spouse in this relationship is more like a computer than a person according to Chapman. Mr. or Mrs. Owl gives you logical answer and they show no feelings when the partner is in disagreement with them. An owl thinks of himself as being intelligent and reasonable. He is happy in not showing any emotional feeling. If the partner shows any feeling he or she would wait calmly till the partner cools off, Mr. or Mrs. Owl will take it from there, still standing on his /her point. The fourth fowl is Ostrich. Ostrich in his case does not respond to what the partner is saying. He only changes the topic to something different from the partner’s line of discussion. The ostrich often develops a singsong approach to talking. Often the inflection of his voice is out of tune with his words. You can interrupt him, make your own comments, and he will start talking again unrelated to what you have just said or what he was saying beforehand. His conversation goes in all directions and seldom reaches any conclusions.
All these kind of communication will not help in the school of intimate relationship. Healthy communication therefore is the communication that starts to effect a change. There is no way we have a change if we don’t understand the type of communication we have with our partner.
Sincerity and faithfulness is the fabric or the life wire of faith. Stand before the Lord and say it yourself who you are. Are you dove, hawk, owl or ostrich? When you judge yourself then you will not be judged. Tell the Lord you want a change. The way up is down; confess your faults one to another so that you can be healed. After this intimacy foundation can be laid.
I like to conclude that the intimate relationship you desire can be yours as we look through the scriptures as reiterated by the prophets of old. Lay down the unprofitable pattern and pick with sincerity the new way of life and see how the Lord will turn things around. Looking forward for the next blog.