Treasured Relationships Newsletter; September 8, 2015
In This Issue:
- Thoughts From Dave
- Article: "What The Bible Teaches Us About Communication" (part 3)
- Treasured Relationships Update
Thoughts From Dave
1. Recently Laura and I went to see the new movie, "War Room." This was the best movie we have seen in quite a while. It is by the same producers as several other superb movies in the last 10 years or so, such as "Fireproof", "Courageous", "Facing The Giants", and "Flywheel." If you have not seen it yet, we highly recommend it. This movie presents a powerful message about how God is at work today, answers prayers, and heals marriages/families. To watch the trailer and to find out where it is showing near you, go to www.warroomthemovie.com (you will need to copy this and paste it into your web browser, as this is not a "clickable link")
2. There are a few ongoing "glitches" in my website, including not being able to deliver this newsletter with "clickable links" in it. But there is a new version of the "Coaches Console" platform that I use for the website. Besides correcting "glitches," this new version also provides a much higher level of security for the private client portal. This is important to keep your private information secure, and even though there have been no breaches of security in the older version yet, it is good to stay well ahead of any hackers out there.
So, over the next 2 weeks I am "migrating" the Treasured Relationships website to the new version. I hope to do this without disrupting any aspect of this ministry, but you will notice website taking on a different appearance and working slightly differently. I'll announce when the transition phase is completed, and if you ever encounter a problem please email me at email@example.com right away.
What the Bible Teaches Us About Communication (part 3)
God is the Great Communicator, and has revealed many important communication principles in the Bible. By following these, we can strengthen our relationships and learn to think and act more like our loving Creator. Here is our third and final lesson to consider: “Slow to Speak”
James 1:19 “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath...”
King David asked God to help him with his communication: Psalm 141:3 “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and keep my lips sealed.” And in Psalm 19:14, he prayed “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Obviously King David didn't mean he wanted his lips permanently sewn shut. We can't keep our lips sealed at all times, but don’t we want our words to be pleasing to God?
We can't get through life without communicating. In fact, Proverbs 10:19 clarifies that it is a "multitude of words" that generally causes the problem. We should avoid being overly talkative. Also we must be very careful to think before we speak and to choose our words carefully. Whatever we say should be edifying and intended to reflect the nature of Christ and to glorify God.
Let's look at some of the keys God gives for good communication:
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Romans 12:14-15 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
Clearly, God wants us to choose our words wisely. Matthew Henry's Commentary on Colossians 4:6 explains, "Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, makes it savory, and keeps it from corrupting."
Any time we are communicating, and especially within close intimate relationships, it is obviously important to watch our words. But it is also true that the tone we use is very important. What should the tone of our talk be like? In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we get a very clear instruction about our tone: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That sounds pretty positive to me. Can you imagine how things might be if there were no (or at least a lot less) negative tone of speech with your spouse?
God's Spirit is the true source of our joy, and our reasonable response should be thankfulness. The apostle Paul regularly let people know he was thankful for them (1 Thessalonians 1:2), and we should follow his example.
Are there things we should avoid saying? There are many destructive forms of communication, such as profanity, offensive comments, and gossip to name a few. Some people love sarcasm, but if your spouse is not one of those people this could be offensive to them. Here are just a few of the many other passages of scripture on this subject:
Proverbs 15:1-2 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”
Proverbs 25:11-12 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.”
Ephesians 4:15 “...but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ...”
When we speak softly, kindly, wisely, truthfully and with love, we can defuse negative feelings and promote positive relationships. So here are some tips for improving your spoken communication:
* Speak clearly, avoiding jargon and confusing ramblings.
* Be respectful.
* Use "I" statements ("I feel uncomfortable when...") instead of accusing.
* Apologize when needed.
* Be forgiving.
* Don't rush or cut the other person off.
* Don't talk too much, allow for some silence.
* Express appreciation and encouragement.
My Dad used to say that you can learn a lot by listening, and that you can't learn much of anything while speaking. I think that was his paraphrase of James 1:19; “...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak..." It is certainly good advice for couples. Have you ever had an argument and then discovered that you didn't even disagree? Listening well could be the key to avoiding that scenario...
Questions or comments?
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, etc. Or go to the www.treasuredrelationships.com website and book a time for us to “meet” over the phone or internet. You select one of my available time slots, and I will send you the details of how we can connect live. I meet this way with people in Australia, Canada, Egypt, and a bunch of US states. So it really doesn’t matter how far away you are from Wilmington, NC. I am here to serve you, and I wish you well.
Treasured Relationships Update
Progress and Plans:
I am currently looking for opportunities to assist pastors and church leaders with their ministries. My interest and calling is to help build healthy relationships anywhere that I can be used by God. So, please let your church leadership know.
Now that school is back in session at UNCW here in Wilmington, we are again attempting to lock in a time for the "How to Avoid Falling For a Jerk (or Jerkette)" class for the college students. This program is all about learning to date smartly and follow the Biblical principles for mate selection. This is the same program I have led for a few church groups (and over 100 times for single adult service members). The program can be presented as a 1-day conference/mini retreat, or broken up into a series of about 7 sessions lasting 1-hour each. If your church has a group for single adults, singles again, or even the teens, I would love to set up a schedule to lead this program for you.
In the spring I taught a class on Wednesday evenings titled "Biblical Marriage." This was a study of what the Scriptures say about marriage; and how applying these teachings in practical ways leads to stronger marriages with greater: commitment, communication, intimacy, romance, physical connection, and solid families. I can build a program like that to meet the needs of a particular congregation, and will be glad to do so.
Last but not least, I would like to enroll about 8 to 10 couples to start a group coaching program in the near future. Everyone was busy over the summer, and we didn't get this started yet. So the offer still stands! The format will include some teaching of effective marital skills, but mostly supporting those couples in moving forward to achieve their goals through coaching. This is fun and non-threatening for everyone, because it follows the coaching model instead of a counseling/therapy model. Once the group begins, it will be a closed group. New people wanting to join will have to get on a list for the next group. I could have up to 2 groups going at a time. Also, these groups can be either in-person or virtual. I have a conference line we can use for virtual meetings, which makes attending much more convenient for everyone. Attendees can attend by using their computers or their phones, easing childcare and distance concerns. If interested, please send me an email at email@example.com.
Date, location & time to be announced soon: "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)" for students at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Individual and couple coaching sessions via telephone, Skype, or conference line as preferred by the clients. Some choose to set a certain time to meet each week, while others prefer scheduling their sessions a week or two in advance. Either way is fine with me, and my calendar function on the website makes scheduling (as well as re-scheduling) easy.
I try to always have plenty of openings weekly for "Strategy Sessions", which are no-charge opportunities for us to meet and get to know one another. One of the services I provide in these discussions is to determine if counseling/therapy are needed, or if my "training plus coaching approach" would be more helpful. We can also discuss options such as whether an individual or couple approach, vs. a group approach would be the most effective. In these sessions, my goal is to provide support in any way that I can, and make referrals if that is the best option. (I've been a Pastoral Counselor since 1980, but no longer provide counseling services. There are plenty of competent counselors that I can refer people to if that is what they need, so that is what I do. However, there are very few professionals engaged in relationship skills training and coaching people in the implementation process. I work with no more than 10 clients (individuals or couples) in private 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 sessions during any given month, and if I were to provide counseling services there would be no time to do this critical ministry.
Another reason that I no longer provide counseling services is that this new approach is far more effective for the people for whom it is appropriate. It is entirely future-focused. Instead of digging into anyone's past (childhood, prior personal failures, etc.), we keep the focus on what you want your relationship to look like 6 months from now; and what you can change right away that will move you in that direction. I find this approach to be exciting and even fun, as well as incredibly helpful for my clients!
I am an ordained Southern Baptist minister, and communications are covered under pastoral confidentiality. What you share with me will never be shared with others, unless you ask me to do so (for example: to intervene on your behalf).
Now for the stuff that I always have at the bottom of this newsletter. It is important, but if you are a regular here, there is no need to read it every time...
Please tell others about Treasured Relationships! If you know anyone who might be able to benefit from this ministry, ask them to check us out on the website. They can also schedule a free, no-obligation, 1-hour "strategy session" with me right on the website by clicking on one of my available time slots in my calendar. Then I will send them the details about how we can "meet" in real time via the telephone or internet. The days of having to drive across town for appointments are over, and we have embraced technology that makes this more effective and more convenient at the same time.
Welcome to new members of the Treasured Relationships community!
I send the Treasured Relationships newsletter to you twice each month. This is usually on the first and third Tuesday of the month. I hope you will stick with us, and that you will find the content beneficial. I also hope that you will allow us to help you as needed, and encourage others you know to get plugged in as well. I personally answer all email, so send me your questions, thoughts, concerns, suggestions, whatever. But, of course, you can unsubscribe at any time and your request will be honored.
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Treasured Relationships LLC: "Helping couples relate well, build fulfilling relationships and experience marriage as God designed it to be!"