Quality Beats Quantity: 2 Thoughts about Marital Communication

You may know what you are talking about but does your spouse know what you are talking about?

It’s a pretty sobering question if you really ponder on it. All too often, I take for granted, because of our 20 years of marriage, that Anne is just going to get what I’m saying.

Not necessarily true.

In fact, there is are more assaults on marriage through “assumptive communication.” That simply means that I believe my spouse understands everything I’ve been conveying. And if there is a misunderstanding, it’s probably their fault as I feel that I was clear enough with what I said. So instead of reviewing the “how” of my approach, I keep talking and talking waiting for them to “get it.”

More talking doesn’t mean better talking. Sometimes there is so much information given that your spouse cannot digest what came out of your mouth and your heart. Quality trumps quantity in communication. Think of it like the difference between going to buffet and a having a quality meal. You’ll walk way from a buffet “feeling” full but unable to digest the copious amounts of saying, “I’m not sure what I ate, but I’m full.” Now look at a good planned out meal. You’ll have the proper portions based off of the palette of the person(s) present. Not only will those eating enjoy the meal but they’ll be able to digest was presented (served).

1 – Quality communication is intentional; it doesn’t just “happen.” As I spoke Sunday at Kfirst, our communication has to go beyond information but strategy. So often I bring up the “3 T’s” of communication (time, tone, technique). Why? Because it is how you and I can intentionally convey that which is on our heart to share. Without that approach, we can feel like we communicated to our spouse not realizing, perhaps, that our tone destroyed our message or that our timing undermined our intention or that our technique misconstrued our heart.

In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by forming triangles to it from known points. What we can do with our communication is to triangulate the communication “sweet spot” by making sure all of our information is strategically approached. Doing this is an act of stewardship. God has given us a voice as a gift and we have a responsibility to steward/manage that gift. 

2 – Quality communication necessitates a lifetime of adjustment. It’d be fine if we, or the person we are married to, didn’t change. But we all do. My oldest is 18 and just completed her freshman year of college. I don’t talk to her the same way I did back in 1999. Why? It sounds overly obvious so say she’s older, in a different maturity of comprehension, and in a drastically different season of life than she was when she was first-born.

Why is it we are able to adapt to children and their “seasons” but we don’t allow those adjustments with adults, specifically, our spouse? I think it’s, potentially, because we disassociate idea of growth with adulthood. You may not be growing “upward” any longer but you can grow deeper. And it is incredibly difficult for the marriage to grow deeper if you are unwilling to adjust how you communicate to your spouse.

I think of any athlete approaching “game day” based off the conditions they’re playing in. Rain, wind, and bright sun shine are all taking into consideration before he/she engages in their activity. Why? The conditions can dramatically affect the results. The same throwing motion in two different conditions can produce different outcomes because of the circumstances at hand.

Sounds like a lot more work doesn’t it? Actually it isn’t. When you weigh out the amount of time and effort needed to recoup from miscommunication, to forgive faults, and heal from misunderstandings, it really is beneficial in every way to approach your communication in a healthy way.  Intentionally communicating and adjusting to the time and seasons of life actually is much less work and more effective in allowing the marriage to grow deeper and aiding in seeing a greater level of joy between you two.

What do you need to start or stop doing in your communication? How can you approach each other that prevents miscommunication? Talk to each other about it. Share with your spouse how you plan on being more strategic with your communication.

Love you all. Praying for you all as you intentionally adjust how you communicate with each other.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

To my wife, thanks for letting me ramble these past 20 years…

I love you.

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

“TV saved my marriage” 4 Ways to Reconnect Your Marriage

It was the summer of ’03. Anne and I were in a store walking through with the kids secured in our double-stroller. We were in a season of life that was a bit hectic. Cammi was 3 and Ethan wasn’t even 1 yet. We were still discovering who we were as a ministry couple not to mention as a married couple. We were trying to find our “flow” in life. We didn’t have consistent schedules, very few “dates” together, and the age of the kids placed a higher demand upon us. I think it’d be true to say, at that point, we didn’t even realize what we were missing as we had gotten used to the fast-paced, non-stop type of living.

I remember it was a Saturday. Why? We were in this conversation about going to Blockbuster (when they were opened) and renting something to watch. The odd open evening got us thinking about getting the kids to bed and having something to watch. When we walked by the movie section of the store, I noticed a “sale” sign on season 1 of the show “24.” For only $20, we could buy the whole season. I looked at Anne and said, “I’ve heard it’s a great show. It’d cost us more than that to rent all six discs. It’s not a huge investment and it’ll give us something we can enjoy together.” So we bought the set.

That day, we purposely got the kids fed, bathed, and put to bed in a timely way, knowing, we had plans to introduce ourself to Jack BauerAt 1a.m. that night, and Lord knows how many episodes later, we were more than hooked, we discovered something that had been missing from our marriage. We had made and engaged in purposeful time and enjoyment with each other. (Full disclosure: we had watched so long that we were trying to remember when and if the kids were put to bed. Obviously we took care of them, but had a funny little panic moment.)

There was more than a “binge-watching” that took place. We found something that we both loved to do together. We enjoyed it so much that we talked about it and made plans for it. Our schedules were adjusted to compensate for our new-found passion. It’s then we began to ask ourselves, “Are there others shows we’d enjoy?” From there, we tried a few shows, invested in lots of popcorn, and scheduled out when we’d watch them.

Nowadays, we really don’t watch shows together. That season ended and a new season began: walking and/or hiking. It’s quite a bit healthier, but with the kids being older, it is also a bit easier to do.

So when I say, “Jack Bauer saved our marriage,” what I’m saying is that a moment of “trying” something together helped us make a reconnection that we didn’t realize how desperately we needed.  We, like most couples, were so busy doing good things in our marriage not realizing we were not engaging in the best things. I’m not saying a TV show is the “best” thing. But look deeper than that. We found something we both enjoyed. That enjoyment gave us a place to relax and connect. And the more we did it, the more we’d anticipate and strategically plan for it. When that avenue of entertainment/enjoyment  begin to wane, we dared to “try” something else. Anne and I knew we couldn’t lose what we had rediscovered.

I’m not saying that you need to get into movies, shows, or sports (even though they aren’t inherently bad to do). That isn’t the overall point. I’d submit: if you don’t have consistent time of leisurely engagement, then you’re starving your relationship. I always say, “What wins a heart before marriage sustains a heart after you’ve married.” And if you’re expecting longevity in something, then you’ll feed it.

How can you find a “reconnection point?”

  1. Recognize the need. Don’t just do this for your spouse, this is for your marriage. People who don’t purposely work on their marriage purposely coast toward catastrophe.
  2. Be willing to try. Perhaps it’s something new to you or to your marriage. Get out of the boat and attempt something. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment of money to be a huge investment in your marriage. Remember: I’d rather a couple fail at trying than fail to try. Take the risk on some healthy activities. If it didn’t work, then the success is in the fact you did something together. If it did connect, then congrats, you found a connection point for you both.
  3. Study your spouse. You can tell if your spouse is getting into it. Watch his/her responses.Listen to see if she/he talks about it. You’ll be able to tell whether the activity “hit the mark.”
  4. Get intentional. Don’t just do something fun together, get strategic about it. The more you plan it out, the more anticipation you create and passion you build.

We get having an empty home.
We get having little ones around.
We get busy schedules.

We also get making time for the things that are the most important. Your marriage is what is most important. Find yourself a “reconnection” and make a habit of it .

Love you all. Praying for you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

 

 

Our Kfirst Values: We do stuff on purpose

I started a series a few weeks back about the values of our church community. Here at Kfirst, our mission is our passion:  We make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus. And our values guide us towards that goal.

Check out last weeks by clicking on the value statement:

Week 1 – Everyone is Significant.

Week 2 – We are Contributors

Week 3 – God Works in Community.

Week 4 – We keep it fun.

Week 5 – Growth requires change.

This week…We do stuff on purpose.

We do stuff on purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to making a difference in this world for Christ, I’ve found most people feel a range of emotions that steers them away. They either feel severely unqualified, completely intimidated, or at a total loss over where to start. The views of their church leaders and/or comparisons of the giftings of others have robbed so many of the witness that doesn’t necessarily come from standing on a street corner with a bullhorn or passing out tracts on the street…

…it’s robbed them of missional living in the simple things of life

Of all the things that feel overwhelming, one of the major issues to living missional is time. Schedules and calendars get packed; life gets busy. We have a terrible time juggling what we have without adding one more thing. But I propose a thought to you: We don’t need to add an extra activity to our day, we need to add intentionality to our activities.

It’s time to do “stuff on purpose.”

As you and I enjoy Jesus and remember who we are in Jesus, He will increasingly shape our lives to live on His mission so that more people can, though us, encounter His love. Your life is a pulpit and the messages you preach will flow through your daily activities. From how you respond to people to the character of Christ, the love of Jesus can intentionally shine through your life. I like how the apostle Paul puts it, “God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1 MSG). Simply said: Let Jesus be on display in everything you do.

I love these words from the book, “Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community,”

“Major events have a role to play in church life, but the bedrock of gospel ministry is low-key, ordinary, day-to-day work that often goes unseen. Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.”

At Kfirst, we believe that, as far as we can help it, we should do everything on purpose. We intentionally focus our time, money and energy to make it simple to find and follow Jesus. It’s what drives us every day. But it can’t be fit into an hour and a half on a Sunday from a platform. Most of the time, that type of intentionality is done in daily lives.

Wrapping up, I want to invite you to “do stuff on purpose.” Here’s five simple, yet effective, ways to do ordinary life with intentionality.

  1. Pray. Before you do anything (work, leisure, family time, shopping, etc) add a simple prayer. “God, as I do this, help me to love like Jesus, live like Jesus, and serve like Jesus.”
  2. Eat. We Americans love to eat. We we have around 21 meals a week. Commit to sharing at least ONE of those a week with someone who does not have a relationship with Jesus. I’m not asking to engage them in debate; just engage them in authentic love and friendship.
  3. Connect. Connect your Kfirst community into relationships and events with your other friends/coworkers and vice versa. Be a builder of bridges.
  4. Pay Attention. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you open your eyes to see “God-moments” everyday. These are the things that feel like annoyances when we don’t have a gospel-attitude. Love what “Total Church” says, “Most God-moments are unexpected and occur along the way to someplace else. They will seem like interruptions, but if you begin to look for God’s fingerprints in your day and in every relationship, in every coffee shop, in every conversation you have with your neighbor, there’s a good chance you will begin to see God’s incarnational presence.”
  5. Play. Do your typical hobbies or fun activities prayerfully (see # 1 ) and by inviting a mix of people into the thing you’re doing (# 3).

Love what Paul tells the church in Corinth,

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31

What might life look like for you to live “on purpose?” Before you click off this blog, write out everything you do typically Sunday through Saturday. Include everything. Meals, work, that one TV show you never miss, gym, etc. Take all of your responses and share them with a friend and discuss how you can be intentional together.

Do stuff on purpose. Be intentional in everything you do for the glory of God.