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HOW TO GET YOUR MATE TO LISTEN
Secrets of a Satisfying Marriage - Part 4 of 12
Proverbs 15:2
Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church of Icard, September 27, 1998
(Grateful acknowledgement to Rick Warren for the Sermon Series)
Proverbs 15.
For four weeks we've been in a series on the Secrets of a Satisfying Marriage.
Today, I want to talk about, How Can I get My Mate to listen.
Talking about communication.
The number one problem in marriages today is communication breakdown.
"We're on different wavelengths.
I don't understand him/her!
How can I get him/her to listen to me?"
The Bible says that communication is not automatic.
It is a skill that must be developed.
The Bible teaches that there is a way of speaking -- if you learn to speak in a certain way, you can be guaranteed that the person you're talking to will listen.
You can apply this whether you're married or not.
At work, at school, making a presentation.
Seven steps on how to get a person to listen to you.
How to speak in such a way that will guarantee that you will be heard.
Prov.
15:2 "When wise people speak they make knowledge attractive."
Circle "attractive".
They speak in such a way that people want to hear, want to listen.
There is a difference between hearing and listening.
Hearing simply means passively responding or listening, hearing sounds.
Listening means focusing on the meaning and responding to the meaning.
We don't want people to just hear us, we want them to listen to us.
The Bible says that when wise people speak they make knowledge attractive -- you want to find out more of what they're talking about.
How do you do that?
1. Choose the right time.
If you're going to make a major presentation, a major issue in life, choose the right time.
Think in your mind of an issue you'd like to deal with in your marriage to resolve, clarify it.
It may be finances, sex, schedule, how to share responsibilities, out-laws, I mean in-laws.
2. Plan your presentation.
3. Begin with your mate's needs.
4. Listen first.
5. Say it positively.
6. Clarify your conclusions.
7. End with an encouraging note.
This sounds real simple but it is profound if you apply it in your life.
You can take any area that you need to talk about and follow these seven steps and I guarantee you'll be heard, listened to.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME
Eccl.
8:6 says "There's a right time and a right way to do everything."
Circle "right time".
Timing is everything in communication.
Every great communicator knows this.
The first rule of communication is "Do it at the right time."
You can have a great message, but at the wrong time,
and it will fall flat on ears that don't want to hear it.
You've got to time your message.
Choose a time not when they're tired, they're frustrated, ready to go to bed.
You don't drop a bomb on your husband or your wife just as you're getting into bed or walking out the door.
You don't do it when they're in a hurry and under pressure.
You wait until the time is right.
You may be ready to talk but are they ready to listen?
Maybe you've been at home all day, stewing and spewing, thinking the thing through, but your mate has been out all day.
They come home with a whole different set of stresses and problems.
If the first thing they hear when they walk in the door is, "We've got a problem."
They may walk back out.
You have got to choose the right time.
Don't drop bombs on people.
Columbia University did a study and found out that most violent arguments were right before meal times.
The blood sugar is low, frustration is high.
Bad timing equals fireworks.
2. PLAN THE PRESENTATION
Think it through first.
Proverbs 16:23 "Intelligent people think before they speak.
What they say is then more persuasive."
If you want to be persuasive, think about it first.
The better you plan what you're going to say, the more persuasive you're going to be.
Don't just shoot from the hip and speak off the cuff.
If you don't really think it out when you have a major issue to deal with and haven't thought it through first prayerfully, then you're not going to have the impact that you would if you plan.
Planning produces persuasion.
Think before you speak.
Two things you need to plan:
1) Plan your introduction
2) Plan your illustrations
On a major family conference, major family issue, you need to first plan your introduction -- How am I going to bring this subject up?
Then, What examples am I going to use when I present my case?
How you introduce a subject, a touchy subject in particular, can make or break communication.
Questions are a good way to introduce a conversation if they don't imply a judgement.
There are certain questions you can ask that automatically put the other person on the defense.
Examples of bad introductions:
If you wanted to talk about your mate's housekeeping you wouldn't say, "This place is a pig sty." "This place is so filthy the roaches are begging for Raid."
If you wanted to bring up spending, you don't say, "My mother thinks you're a tightwad."
Courtesy: "Now why don't you treat me the way Joe treats his wife?"
Responsibility: "Am I the only adult in this family?"
Sex: "Do you think we could make love before the end of the century?"
Schedule: "I know you've forgotten their names so let me reintroduce you to your children."
These are bad introductions.
You need to plan a way to introduce the subject.
And you need to plan your illustrations.
Have some examples, some "for instances".
A good book to read, The Language of Love, by Gary Smalley.
It talks about how to write word pictures that will communicate to your mate.
We think in pictures.
It talks about how to use illustrations and examples to get your point across.
3. BEGIN WITH HIS OR HER NEEDS
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