Communication in Your Marriage | Part 5


My Spouse Is Hard To Talk To

Communication is one of those areas in marriage where, even if there are seasons of difficulty, we must choose never to give up. We must make the choice that we are ultimately not doing this for our spouse or our self, but for God. During the difficult seasons we need to choose to give each other grace. Maybe our spouse is going through a difficult time at work or just feeling discouraged. We need to take that into consideration in our communication times and not allow ourselves to take it personally. Because we are working on our marriage ultimately for God’s glory we need to grace our spouse and keep pursuing them.

There are several types of communication “dodgers”. The first can be equated with a porcupine. If a difficult issue is brought up they become all quills and derail the conversation with spines. This is where we need to not allow ourselves to take it personally and either push on gently or continue the conversation at another time.

The second type of conversation dodger is the shellfish. They become a clam when an issue is brought up. These people can be married to a talker who can then overtake the conversation. Usually the people who are shellfish are afraid to open up. If the shellfish is your spouse, you need to slowly bring them out or warm them up by asking questions they will answer and then bring up the topic. After that just sit and wait. Choose not to overtake the conversation but wait to hear their opinion.

The last type of dodger is the prairie dog. These are people who hear topic and through out a red herring to get you off topic. They change a topic so they don’t have to deal with the issue at hand. With this type of person, just don’t allow yourself to be derailed and continue to gently steer them back on course.

More information on the topic of communication can be found in the book “We Need To Talk.”


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 5 2016-02-19T21:00:46+00:00

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 4


How To Start Great Communication

Great communication starts with planning, purpose and time. Because of the busyness of our schedules we cannot just wait for great communication to happen. We have to prepare for it. As unromantic as it sounds we have to put in on our calendar. Especially for parents, we are balancing lots of schedules and it is easy for marital communication time to get pushed to the back burner. This is very detrimental for both parenting and marriage.

So a time has been set, what next? Making sure your communication time has purpose. This can seem like it would be uncomfortable, setting aside time just to talk. Because the purpose is communication there can’t be distractions such as TV or phones or even children begging for your attention. This is very hard for young parents so maybe even putting your toddlers in a stroller and going for a walk would work if a date night is not feasible every week.

Finally we must allow ourselves enough time to communicate. It cannot be a five or ten minute burst when you get home from work. It must be a chunk of time set aside, so that you can practice through all five levels of communication.

Most importantly make it fun. Take the time to dream together and allow these times to deepen your friendship.


For more insight on the topic of communication listen to today’s podcast.

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 4 2016-02-18T21:00:28+00:00

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 3


The Levels of Communication

There are actually five levels of communication that we use when speaking to others.  The first level of communication is called “cliché conversation”.  This is very surface communication, verbally touching base with someone.  The basic questions like “hi, how are you” and the answers to those questions.

The second and third levels of communication seem to be where we spend most of our time.  The second level is journalistic communication.  This is reporting things or giving facts/information.  Such as my day at work went great, this happened today, ect. The third level is called editorial communication this is giving your opinion on what’s going on.  For example not only talking about the game last night but how you felt the players could have done things differently or sharing your opinion about things that are going on at the office.

The final two levels are vitally important for marriage but many of us are afraid to go there.  Either we are afraid of being hurt, rejected or we simply haven’t observed how to communicate at these levels.  The fourth level is the “risk feelings level” This is when you cautiously test the waters to see if it is a safe place, or even just a safe time, to share feelings.  This is the level where vulnerability begins.   By sharing how you feel or how something effects you then you are beginning to share yourself with someone else.

The final level is called emotional nakedness.  This is the goal for every marriage.  This is where we feel completely safe completely opening up to another person.  It is allowing each other to completely share who we are as people with no fear.  Because of this level of vulnerability we cannot stay in level five communication all the time or we would be exhausted.  For most relationships it takes building through each level even in one sitting to get to this point of vulnerability and ultimately years to practice!

For more insight on this topic listen to today’s podcast.

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 3 2016-02-17T21:00:29+00:00

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 2


Why Is Communication in Marriage Important for Parenting?

Yesterday we talked about why communication in marriage is difficult.  One of the things that we touched on is that most of the time we marry our opposites.  We marry someone who is different from ourselves, gender, background and personality differences.

Because of these differences conflict is bound to happen.  Conflict if handled appropriately can strengthen a marriage.  This is where communication comes in.  We must work through the issues not bury them.  We need to be a parenting team.  In order for that solid team to be built it starts with solid communication through the marital issues.  That way when parenting issues arise we are ready to work  it.   Click here for more on when parents don’t agree.

the time to work through the communication issues it will help build a parenting team and strengthen your marriage in the process.


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 2 2016-02-16T21:00:07+00:00

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 1


Why Is Communication So Hard?

One of the most important things in parenting is for spouses to be able to communicate about parenting issues.  We are going to spend this week discussing communication in marriage because it is ultimately such an important parenting topic.

Why with so many communication tools is it so hard for us to communicate?  There are many reasons.  The first is the fact that many of us never observed our parents communicating, or communicating in a healthy way.  Another is the busyness of our lives.  We can become like ships passing in the night with our spouses and be so exhausted by the end of the day that we don’t have the energy to talk to each other.  Another reason communication can be hard is that most of us marry our opposites and this is true for our communication styles.  It may even be as simple as one of us is a night person and one of us is a morning person.

Whatever the barrier to our communication is we must choose to push past it.  Find a time that is good for both you and your spouse.  If communication has been a difficult issue then choose to spend some time on neutral turf, like out at a restaurant or a coffee place, even just out for a walk.  The point is your parenting and ultimately your marriage depends on quality communication.  Choose to make it a priority!


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

Communication in Your Marriage | Part 1 2016-02-15T21:00:35+00:00

Teens and Stress | Part 5


Questions About Family Time

As we are processing this topic many parents may be asking the questions what if?  If my kids have too much down time won’t they just spend it online?  Or what if my kids don’t like what we are doing on family night I don’t want to feel rejected. Many parents may not know what to do with their kids because every one has been so busy for so long they don’t really know each other anymore.

First thing we need to do is choose.  We need to choose to no matter what be together as a family.  This also means choose activities that all can be involved in.  Ultimately that means that we are choosing to be family!  That also means that we need to choose not to be discouraged and give up if changing the routine is difficult at first or if your children don’t warm up to the family night idea right away.  That’s ok!   Keep at it, you are communicating to all involved that family is important.  God made us first and foremost for relationship, relationship with Him and relationship with each other.  When we can begin to balance relationship and learn to say enough is enough then the stress will begin to be relieved because you are communicating you are important to me because you are you.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on kids and stress.

Teens and Stress | Part 5 2014-06-02T18:52:34+00:00

Teens and Stress | Part 4


What Can We Do?

In order to help our kids/teens cope with today’s pressures we first need to ask ourselves what’s the goal?  Often good goals over power best goals.  It is a good goal for your child to get into a good college.  It is a good goal for your child to he well rounded.  But building for my child’s college application is not worth sacrificing my child’s well being.  Like we have stated our ultimate goal of parenting is raising a child who is employable or marriageable.  In order to be either of these things we need to teach our children to be balanced.  We do not want to teach a child to be a workaholic or they will not be marriageable because they will not know how to make time for family.

So realistically what do we do?  We need to know when to say enough is enough.  If you do have a child who is a gifted athlete then let them pick the sport that they want to focus on.   They do not need to do all of them.  Make sure that you do have family time carved out.  Make the time to eat together as a family every day.  This doesn’t mean throwing food down in the car as you are trying to get to the next thing.  Get up early and sit at the breakfast table together, start the day as a family.  You can even take the time then to read a verse or two from scripture at the table to focus everyone on what really matters.    Weekly take the time to have a family night.  Put it on the calendar and require that every one is there.  Make sure that there is time in your schedule for down time as a family.  If you are looking at your schedule and can’t fit in a family night then you are too busy.  Get creative and make sure to fit it in!!!

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on kids and stress.

Teens and Stress | Part 4 2014-06-02T18:52:08+00:00

Teens and Stress | Part 3


What does stress mean for today’s teen?

Today’s overachieving society can have detrimental effects on the teen.  Like we said yesterday, the well meaning parent can be trying to help their teen get into college and fill their plate so full that it becomes overwhelming.  It is not abnormal for a focused teen to get up be at swim practice before the sun, go to school and spend their days in AP or dual enrollment classes, go back to swim practice or a meet until dinner, and then be up until after midnight completing homework.  There is only so much of this a teen can take day in and day out before it begins to wear on them.  Some teens can’t handle the stress and begin to retreat away from family, or begin to make bad choices.  This can leave many parents struggling for answers.  How many times have we heard parents say, “I don’t know what happened he/she was doing so well!”

This ends up being a very lonely life for a teen.  It leaves them feeling that they are only as good as they perform.  Their entire self worth is not based on how much they are loved or valued but by how well they do.  What can we do as parents to help our kids off the hamster wheel and help them balance their life and time?  Check back tomorrow because that is what we will be discussing!

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on kids and stress.

Teens and Stress | Part 3 2014-06-02T18:51:46+00:00

Teens and Stress | Part 2



Unfortunately many of us, unintentionally add stress to our children rather than being the calming force that helps them cope.  We try to give our children “opportunities” by keeping them in many different sports, dance or gymnastics.  We also want them to be able to be able to do whatever they want so we add to the academic stress by pushing good grades.  For some parents it is that they have gotten in the trap of performance focused parenting.  For others it is, innocently wanting what is best for our children.

For some reason we have been taught that idle hands are the devils tools.  So out of fear that they may get into trouble we keep our teens busy. But as we will discuss tomorrow this can have negative consequences.

We need to keep in mind that our children and teens are not just mini adults.  They do not need to bare the same stress levels or have as many things on their plates as an adult can balance.  Our children need time to play to imagine, to dream.   They need the time to just be children.  In order to train up a well rounded individual we have to allow for our children to have time to dream up what they want to be in the future.  Protect their childhood and make sure that your children have down time, just to be children!

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on children and stress.

Teens and Stress | Part 2 2014-06-02T18:51:25+00:00

Teens and Stress | Part 1


“A Race To Nowhere”

It would seem for the past few years our society is suffering from severe stress levels.  There are many factors that play into this, from the current financial situation to inter personal and family stress.  There are days where it may even feel like we are running around like rats in a maze getting nowhere with no real purpose.  So, in all of the frenetic activity how are our children faring, many of our children are suffering from major amounts of stress.

A documentary film that has been release called “A Race To Nowhere” helps us to have a view into the life of today’s teens and the pressures of the education system today.  The film looks at the dilemma of the attempt to help our children succeed and keep our schools accountable, has put an inordinate amount of stress on both student and educator.   Because such a high priority has been placed on testing, for accountability reasons, children today not only have the educational pressures of making the grade, completing mountains of homework, but also performing well on the standardize testing.   Through working with the middle school kids at Sheridan House I have seen personally the level of stress that these test place on the kids.  Some have even gotten sick with worry over them.

All this to say, we as parents need to realize the level of stress our children/teens are under and not pile more on their plate.  We need to look at our goals for parenting and not pressure our children to achieve but rather to be well-rounded individuals.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on children and stress.

Teens and Stress | Part 1 2014-06-02T18:51:03+00:00