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Communication Tools That Work

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 1, 2020 2:00 am

Communication Tools That Work

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 1, 2020 2:00 am

Rob and Gina Flood talk about the communication skills they learned that turned their isolated marriage into a relationship of true oneness. Together they help couples understand how implementing these tools—first response, prayer, physical touch, mirroring, and proper timing—can take their communication from a C- to an A+.

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Have you ever been in the middle of marital conflict called a timeout to break Rob flood and his wife Gina say that's a great technique to employ when we are not communicating well with one another. Just because a conversation has started doesn't mean it has to end.

If it goes south doesn't mean you have to keep going in that direction.

You can pause, go to your neutral corners. If need be for 15, 30 minutes come back together.

I don't know how the conversation going go but I'm ready to take your hand now that I think those 10 or 15 minutes. How you use that time is key because if you use that time to nurture bitterness, anger, rehearse, unhelpful, unkind words, you're going to come back and you're still not be ready to continue to move forward in the conversation. I think that time really needs to be used with the Lord and laying that out there before the Lord said that he can soften. This is family like today. Our hosts are David M. Wilson on Bobby Payne can find us there are tools or strategies we can employ as husband and wife that can help us do a better job of loving one another when we're not communicating well talk about what those are, with our guests Rob and Gina flood today.

Stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. I forget where I saw this or heard it but somebody had an illustration one time there was couple pictured in conflict with one another.

There shouting at each other and and somebody says you need to calm down the abrasions.

I can't calm down and I'm I'm just angry.

And then the phone rings and the person who's in the middle of it you have received this right yes hello I was in hello something about the phone ringing the doorbell. They can all of a sudden stop the anger that they were in my kids. One time they were little and I remember someone knocked at the door and went to the door. I talked to the person at the door and I came back in one of my kids and mom why can't you be as nice to us that you are will to the people to come to the door. The people on the phone who I think that was me convicted by that we all do it will do it and were talking this week about communication about how we can do better in marital communication because if you're not communicating well you will be in isolation and marriage communication is one of those fundamental skills. We spent time of the week and remember getaway talking about communication all weekend long. Because this is not something that we receive a lot of formal training in and yet there are some things that the Bible says about communication that can absolutely be a paradigm shift for your marriage and move you from isolation back toward oneness.

We've got Rob and Gina flood joining us this week to talk about this stuff guys, welcome back. Thank you for having us Rob and Gina were part of family life staff back a decade ago today Rob is a pastor at a church in suburban Philadelphia on the pastoral staff of a great church there. Gina is raising six kids. All are you still raising your 20-year-old is not about yes I know, I think it's great but really does have good like roots at home so he does talk to us a lot.

Think you know we hear things that kids who leave and you don't hear from his gun and I just I love that the kids to want to talk to talk to us forever. Well Rob. Rob has written a book called with these words where you unpack five communication principles are tools that you learned over the course of your marriage that helped you guys turn from a marriage that was in severe isolation.

In the first year and 1/2 where your actively praying that God would take the life of the other person so that you could be free to remarry. It sounds worse coming from your mouth.

You had no way to know how to resolve these issues until you started seeing somebody model it for you, and you started looking what the Scriptures have to say about communication than you started believing that and applying it and living it out in the power of the spirit and you started to see as you said, not overnight turnaround by the falling overtime that led what was frozen to become warm again in a marriage relationship. We talked about a couple of the tools this week.

The tool of first response which you said was a the.

The ability of the other person in a communication engagement that the second person really determines how that engagement. So don't write how you respond to whatever your spouse says determines whether things escalate or de-escalate the great things about that principal that you know love you will talk about that because Joyce think if somebody start something you just responded to go somewhere but when you're in a marriage, or you're in a situation in your spouse or somebody says something that hurts or starts to escalate right now because I now have this tool first response. I am now in decision mode that I live power you have red hair day. There's a lot of power.

I have a choice to make. It is that I got a react. I can be like. We will relate. I am the first responder. I am going to determine where this goes. Everything in me going to say okay here we go. But maybe it's I don't know I menopause them to pray to second tool that's right. And it could change everything. And prayer as he said, is that second tool and that's praying for our spouse, that's praying with our spouse and making that central to what we do and then the third tool you talk about is the power of physical touch and I thought this was fascinating. There is something in reaching out and taking the other person's hand in the middle of communication that somehow changes the scope of our communication. Yet, it not only in the be in the middle of communication. If you know you're going to be sitting down to a difficult conversation taking someone's hand or it could just be sitting close, we are touching. It could be were on opposite sides of the couch, but her legs are stretched across mine some type of nonsexual intimate touching where it's safe and you're connected when the conversation starts to go south. The first thing you'll notice is that you shift your position so you're not touching it won't be raised voices. Typically, it won't be harsh words.

You want some distance to make room for the sin you're planning to deliver.

I was instinctive, it's hard to stay intimately connected to somebody you're about to attack and so when you realize we've stopped touching. It's time to call timeout and apply to a number to pray that the Lord would restore unity. Somehow we started to get on different sides of this thing, pray, reconnect and start over again and I'll tell you what. When you when you get good at this tool the principal physical touch. You can fake it. You can be touching your spouse and the ingrained.

And so you I have noticed over the years that if I feel like I want to move away. I will tell him because I could force myself to say. I mean, he ran with the guy who created this tool they think don't touch me there is no way on releasing his hand or moving my feet so I will tell him I say okay I want to release your hand so let's back up and figure out where we are. You guys actually do this close enough that you're taking one another's hands. As you're talking yeah absolutely will sit at the same table.

The Italians do other serious conversations at the kitchen table. Sometimes it'll be the couch if were talking in the car will reach across the console and then take hands.

If it's going to be want a difficult conversation or if we sense a hold I didn't expect this to be hard but it's starting to get hard. Let's take hands and let's just start to monitor how were doing in this conversation there is something profound and powerful about this, but you imagine a couple situation where it's escalated and if one spouse is to commit to hug you from there is something de-escalating just about that or just timeout and the other person will unthinkably go. No I don't I don't want to be touched. Right now I don't want to be hugged. That would be giving up this anger that I'm not ready to give up on you right it's like you're saying I'm not feeling like I want to touch you right now but when when we say okay hang on. Let's just for a minute when I go say anything to one another. Let's just hold hands for a minute. Let's just hug for a minute and then we'll see where the conversation goes after that there is something that will just drain right out of an argument or fight if we will just say hi and I were on the same team.

Let's do some safety and some security.

I think that's a part of what the touching abides is a connection that says I'm poor you work for each other. Let's just de-escalate. First, it is important to say that this tool not be forced on a spouse. It could be that you got to a place in the conversation that applying this tool the opportunity for was 20 minutes ago so you want to force this on somebody there other tools we can start using that can really help once things really blow up about if if the spouses open to it. It is very restorative, very de-escalating like you are saying yes is there every time you feel like it's too early like I've said something that really hurt her hypothetical because I've never done a good thing. I've been hurt by her and she's reaching out to say let's hold hands as we like, I can't. I'm hurt and maybe 10 minutes. 50 minutes is a moment where I go. Okay she heard my hurt. She starting this realize how hurt I am and then there's a so I'm asking you, then I'm going to respond. Again, I'm not feeling like I'm being disobedient, but I'm just not ready to touch her hand yet because I'm really live and in pain, that is, is it could be too early and I love the fact that you think I ask you is force it and be honest I think a nap in that illustration you just gave the greatest mistakes we make is we actually aren't honest in love and that were honest in anger. You hurt me on the do on not allowing you in the do that, but no way to second if you can be honest in love and say I really but I know what you're doing there. I appreciate it.

I'm not ready for this okay call a timeout just because a conversation has started doesn't mean it has to end right if it goes south doesn't mean you have to keep going in that direction. You can pause, go to your neutral corners.

If need be for 15, 30 minutes come back together so that I don't know how the conversation going to go but I'm ready to take your hand now. I think those 10 or 15 minutes. How you use that time is key because if you use that time to nurture bitterness, anger, rehearse, unhelpful, unkind words, you're going to come back of that is 10 to 15 minutes and you're still not gonna be ready to continue or move forward in the conversation. I think that time really needs fees with the Lord and laying that out there before the Lord said that he can soften you. Not so good because you're absolutely right on timeout. Somebody can go.

Okay, this is a recess from of the court proceeding and I need to get my notes together and put my case together so that when we come back I'm ready to persecute and prosecute more and instead of saying okay I got a timeout on the spend time with the Lord, Lord, will I need to do in the situation and how how should I approach this and time in the Scriptures, even opening the Bible and and just reading passages from scripture as you as you process this and let the Lord soften your heart. I'm guessing that both of you are not stuffers who who in conflict will just kind of go quiet on each other, but that you're both expressive with one another, passionate people. We are expressive and passionate we aren't yeller's. Yes, but we're both very articulate and eager to be so is far more articulate than me right and that was something that I needed to learn when we were first married, because we would have conversations and he was so articulate, and so persuasive.

Every single one. I lose every single conversation until finally, after 10 and like a minute later Natalie.

I think this is just how he's communicating and so I think we had one conversation I said no and and and I am right and were not done this conversation until you agree that I am right but she did say we have to slow down so my mind can figure out why right he needed to learn. Guess it's so good babe because we need to learn how to communicate with each other. He needed to learn that I need that time to process what he found. I'm knocking to come up with the quick response. I need silence so I can think about what he said and he needed to learn to get comfortable with that silence so that I could have that space and time to think and not be anxious or angry because I was being forced to come up with an answer so quickly. Mary and I have the same thing goes.

If we had been on opposite sides of the debate squad. I want every time I can think of it on my feet I can come up with. But what about this and what about this some more about this. You are speaking the truth is, it's time to stop and reflect and process this and early in our marriage with something would come up and I would I would be right there with.

Let me give you three things. There's this and there's this and there's this and she wasn't quick enough to come but but what about this and this and this and so I remember one Saturday morning. We were having some argument about something, I was logically in my mind I'm just being reasonable and logical this and this and this and she gets up and leaves room and goes to the bedroom and locks the door and I thought you were just being so immature. I'm just making logical points and you walk away and lock the door and it was.

I remember her coming back out and saying you know personal logic is everything.

You're not listening to what I'm saying, you're just building your defense as you go along. She was right. She mailed me on this kind of stuff and I had to pull back and say okay I may be able to think on my feet better than you, but that doesn't mean I'm right and what I'm saying and that doesn't mean that I see 360 lead and easy to get the other that your spouse or the other person in this communication, or conflict time right question is how long because I know for NNI.

She would be you Rob she would be better and quicker to know what she's feeling. This conflict in as we said earlier she would blurt it right out. Know what I felt that right away. I know what I'm feeling.

I know what I did feel and I think I know in detail tomorrow.

You know that I would say today. Plenty think when you feel what's going on and he would take. I don't know too many questions why I remember earlier marriage. She would just say so what are you feeling and I felt like on the dumbest guy in the world because I don't know and she would be a guess you do. You know you know what is it Mike. I actually don't over guess what I discovered I knew and an hour or two hour sometimes. I knew after good night sleep, but we we had this idea that Ephesians 4. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, meant that he couldn't ever go to sleep without resolving this thing when I realize one night at 9 o'clock. Unlike the sun Artie went down. I got till tomorrow night. Although supportive are not. It was like if we can talk about this in the morning I will know what I feel now we can communicate let you know what I go oh a week right you have and I had to do with free quickly goes into that bigger picture. What are you a part of.

Because if you realize were building something for decades. It's okay if the conversation takes an extra day. Yeah, this applies to our kids to and all of these tools would apply to our kids would apply to anyone that were speaking to. Maybe not the principle of physical touch with some people, but we have fast processing kids slow processing cadre and learning each one and figuring out who needs that time is key and as a parent teaching them what you're teaching us how you communicate as a parent you need to teach them that so your modeling this as were doing it right. Right. Let's talk about the last two tools.

The tool of mirroring, explain what that is. So that slowing a conversation down enough to make sure what has just been said to me, is understood in the way it was meant so Gina will say something.

Often times couples including us can end up fighting about something that was never really meant to be communicated.

Gina will say something if I read tone or intention into that.

That's not accurate. I end up having an argument with a woman I'm not even across the unit of the couch from because she didn't even mean that. So if we find ourselves tripping over communication regularly. This can be a great tool to put into place so Gina says something. She says you know Rob I love for you to come up with a plan to work with one of our kids, I'm hearing you think I'm failing and is a will. What about the plane I came up with last that why just responded in a harsh way that's escalated and took this in a totally different direction that she was hoping so the tool would say okay so are you saying that I'm failing again is a dead no no no that's not at all what I'm saying and is tools only successful is if if we give the power of interpretation to the person who actually set it if she realizes okay I chose the wrong words because Rob's giving me a meaning I didn't intend. I'm giving her a chance to restate it to say it differently. I love how you talk about this in the book, as you said early on when you started trying to practice this technique of mirroring, you would say something and Gina would say, here's what I hear you saying you'd hear it back and you go that sounds harsh and that sounds rude and then you try to reexplain and she did so will this is what I'm hearing now Greg about some of harsh and rude took you wilder recognize I'm something harsh and rewrite it was right and she was interpreting me far better even than I was, but she was patient to let me try for five different times and instead of saying you idiot and then escalating the number to keep working the stool we can keep doing this because we trust that God can work through this and he did, but it took my dense head for five times to hear only the second maybe she's right him asking you just said so little off topic but not really. You said you idiot would you guys ever say something like that you use words like that. Not even in the first year and half now since that's what I never called names, why not. I was raised in a home with each other names.

That was not like if you called somebody a name that was a big deal so I never in fact we so didn't call each other names that if the word dear was used like community here like the in my house.

The word dear menu, my father-in-law called me dear all the time and it took a couple years to realize he doesn't just call me dear he calls everyone dear at the time of love.

So it's all learning a new language when you enter into a new family. And we said in your book all about. Words have power. That's right, and negative word stick.

I mean, we all know the phrase Dixons also my bones but words will never hurt what a lie is a statement in an INR first six months of marriage she yelled.

I wish I'd never married you and I yelled back. Basically, you're right, we are idiots.

We should never done this and when we got through that conversation. This was your 140 years ago we said we will never ever again say words like that in our marriage that are that hurtful, and you think 40 years later a bit. We slipped up we haven't. Praise God because we knew the power of life and death is in the tongue again. Be very careful. Not only that we really reiterated that to our kids as well, so far. Kids are getting an argument and they knew that they can't call each other a name like it's against the rules because were thinking the way you learn to use your words and handle conflict now will be what you carry into your marriage.

The last tool you talk about is the tool of proper timing.

This is so important Marianne alive. No about one another that the time for her to have a substantive conversation with me is not first thing in the morning because I'm not really awake yet or engaged. The time for me to have a conversation with her is not at 9 o'clock at night when she started to fall asleep so we have to figure out when is the right time. What's the right setting.

This is an important part of making sure will be heard well as it is if it flows out of those four words in Ephesians 4 as fits the occasion that there is actually a time right time for words Jean and I will talk about a lot of things we enjoy communicating together. If it's not super important.

Talking to me during the football game is not the best thing right. I try not to do that in general but but if it's important the football game has to go off like right now that's determining off mean muted depends on the fans if it's a conversation we could have his word were East Coast so typically our games are at 1 o'clock. If it's conversation that could happen that for then you know we we wait till Flint aiming for. There's another football game on it for the issue really is. It for the football illustration is is a little inane. The real issue is if this is an important conversation we need to have it at the right time, not just when were at our best like you and Marianne, but have I just come back in from work and my just acclimating to the family is at the right time as she's getting dinner prepared or as were getting our youngest ready for bed is that the time to crack open into a big conversation and am I ready to express myself in a godly way that is actually played about this.

Have I really meditate on what's the best way to say this, rather than just I'm feeling it right now.

Therefore, we must have this conversation right now. She will feel different if you have to wait God directing you for whatever reason God is directing you and sometimes that may be because God has things to do in you before you have that conversation. There are times when something invades our family crisis, or where where you just can't choose the time where this tool becomes unhelpful. You just don't get to use the stool then is the best time to take hands with the tool physical touch to pray and to deal with this thing that can't be put off. Sometimes the timing can't be altered but the other tools are there to help.

There was the time this is. It is for the listeners. I love that you're doing physical touch are now holding hands. Yes I'm not about to say something bad had I prepared the there was a time where we had been doing these tools, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, but he is a night person I am a morning person. I am not a night person's that were laying in bed and he's telling me about his struggle that he's having. I'm so tired and sound like okay honey, can you just tell me what you want. Like you want me to ask you questions and draw you out or can I just tell you what your senates. So I wanted the letter because I needed to get there eventually and that I knew what she was saying. I knew it was late. I was really struggling and felt like I won't.

The Council of my wife but I don't have time for her careful counsel so she does what she does when Fred for this anger done that earlier in our marriage. It we are in a place I the grace of God that we can have that now ask you had a phone call with the woman yesterday. She's been married 15 years she's been working on her marriage with a husband has been not very involved.

He hasn't been applying a lot of the truths you're talking about.

They both go to church but in her words. I'm really the one doing everything and I'm tired and I'm wary of being the only one is working on her marriage when he stated that person this lip-synching tired of being the only one my spouse really is investing anything so not knowing her situation. Specifically, just broadening and generalizing that first one will have compassion on that because that's a real place. There are lots of couples out there where each spouse is not shouldering in equal weight.

I also want to encourage her that she belongs to a Savior who sees and who knows and is eager to give her a double portion of grace to shoulder the load that's been given her as she walks with him and then to encourage her on the ways we've seen her grow, to let her know that all of this labor is not in vain. I don't know if this this one has children or not. But how would setting a wonderful example where the kids will remember a mom who was careful with her words a mom who woke up each day and was willing to walk with Jesus and entrust this difficult marriage to the Lord.

I would also encourage her if she hasn't done that already to ask her husband if they can over help if they can bring this up in a small group where there could be a mentor there that could help them or a pastor that could sit and help walk them through some things bring some help equipping and accountability to her husband.

That doesn't have to come through her.

Those are some of the thoughts that come to mind. Yeah I love the everything you've written your book.

I think these tools are very very practical biblical. The really and I hope couples. And yes I got it in your book. One of the things I love those the vow through the communication. Val and I thought once you read all they know couples can. I mean this is some we should post on our website and couples can put up on the fridge or frame it and remind themselves of the valid communication with these words the communication Val with these words, I will seek to build you up rather than tear you down with these words, I will do all I can to reiterate what you mean in a way that honors and respects you with these hands. I will touch you caringly seeking unity even through the hardest conversations with these eyes. I will look on you tenderly avoiding judgment and scorn with these ears. I will listen intently to understand what you're trying to say with this heart I will seek to love the Lord first and foremost loving you. All the while with these words. I will share grace, mercy and forgiveness as it has abundantly been shared with me by our Savior and with God's help. Our communication will draw us more closely together for the good of our home in the glory of God. You do that so well. We can start there, but you do that so well and that's the message that if you're not there, you can get there, you can move from where you are to a place where this is how you're going to communicate with one another by applying God's word with the power the Holy Spirit humbling yourself saying this is what we want. This is what both of us are aiming for.

So let's approach your communication differently. Let's do it differently than our passions tell us to do it that our instincts tell us to do it that our family baggage tells us to do it. Let's do it the way the Scriptures tell us to do it and let's watch the transformation happen in our relationship thank you for the time. Great to see you.

Thanks for writing the book in such treat great to have you go this year.

You know you two would get copies of Rob's book in our family life today resource Center go online to get a copy of with these words five communication tools for marriage and life. You can order it from us or you can call one 800 FL today I get the book is called with these words by Rob flood, you can order or you can call one 800 FL today to get your copy of these are days when all of us need to be re-anchoring our hearts and minds in the truth of God's word in God's providence in his providential care for us.

It's easy to become fearful or anxious.

Jesus in the sermon on the Mount said don't be anxious about your life about what you leave door what you will drink, or about your body, what you will put on it. Life is about more than food and the body is about more than clothing. He's reminding us that we need to be spiritually minded in the midst of present challenges that were facing in this life and I hope all of us during this season of heightened anxiety in our lives and in our culture are pointing one another and pointing people in our community to the only real source of hope we have and that is our hope in Christ. You may have heard about a document from church history called the Heidelberg catechism.

The very first question and that catechism is what is your only comfort in life and death and we are living in life-and-death days, the answer to that question is that I am not my own but I belong with body and soul both in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ is fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood. He set me free from the power of the devil.

He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly father listen without the will of my heavenly father not a hair can fall from my head. Indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit.

He assures me of eternal life and makes me hardly willing and ready. From now on to live for him. That's where hope is found in Christ.

And I hope during these anxious days you are renewing your mind setting your mind on things above, not on things on earth and rejoicing in the reality that you belong to Christ, only to say if you don't know Christ. Me encourage you to go to our website. Family life to there's information available there about how you can deal with your anxiety and find comfort by becoming a child of God by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. Again, go to our website. Family life or call us if you'd like to know more about what it means to be a Christian, and we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we talk about one of the ways that life can get complicated for blended families and that's in the area of finances, money, Ron deal, who gives leadership to family life blended with us to talk about how blended families can be proactive and make sure money doesn't become an issue in their blended marriage to men for that. I don't think our engineer today.

Keep things going on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson on Bob Payne.

See back tomorrow for another edition of family life today, family life, to use a production family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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