"Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)
You are Important to Us!
During this sobering time in our world, we want you to know that we are thinking of and praying for you, your marriages, and your families. Our prayers vary every day, but some parts remain consistent. These consistent prayer points follow:
For You: Our prayer for you is that you and your loved ones are safe, healthy (physically, mentally, & spiritually), respected & valued as people made in the image of God, and recipients of God's saving grace through Christ Jesus.
From You: Our prayer for you also is that those who cross your path are safe and protected in your presence; healthy (physically, mentally, & spiritually) in part because of your support and care; respected & valued as people, like you, made in the image of God; and recipients of God's grace with you relationally and ultimately of God's saving grace through Christ Jesus.
With You: Likewise, we pray this same prayer for us—team members of Son Shine Ministries—for each other and for all who cross our paths. We also pray daily that God allows us opportunities to share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and equip families to serve him effectively.
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?