Barbara Platt, co-founder of Son Shine Ministries, passed on to be with the Lord on January 28, 2023. Barbara lived joyfully and served faithfully alongside her husband, Ted, and her partners, Lew & Sandy Shaffer, until moving to Montgomery, Alabama, in 2012. Ted continues to reside in Montgomery near their son’s family. Barbara’s love for Jesus was evident in the ways she encouraged and cared for others. She and Ted, through nearly 66 years of marriage, shared a beautiful devotion to one another that was inspiring. She was always positive, and her humor kept people smiling while in her presence. Co-founder, Sandy Shaffer, said about Barbara, “She was the perfect friend and partner for me.” We miss Barbara, but we celebrate her eternity with the Lord and look forward to the reunion that awaits us. Your prayers for Ted and his family are appreciated.
Truly Being Heard
Researcher John Gottman has identified conflict avoidance as the #1 predictor of a failed marriage. As Son Shine Ministries actively trains on communication and conflict resolution, one of the most important skills needed is active listening. When done well, it communicates respect and makes your spouse truly know he/she is heard.
Active listening begins when your spouse shares with you something of importance, including the emotion connected with it. After listening intently, you then paraphrase back to your spouse what you heard, identifying the emotion that accompanied it. This is not the time to express an opinion. The key to this stage is to make sure your spouse is truly heard. The next step is that the original "sender" evaluates the paraphrased response, fine-tuning it to make sure he/she is truly understood. In conflict resolution, it is important for both spouses to take turns doing this before possible solutions are discussed. Besides escalating initial reactions, it is in the active listening step of paraphrasing where we often see couples go off course. Active listening is a learned skill (i.e., it takes practice).
Jeff Daly's oft-quoted statement, "Two monologues do not make a dialogue," is true, but two monologues (with active listening) often begin a dialogue. Communication is vital in relationships. Is this a strength in your marriage? What small thing could you do today to improve it?