Two key rules of communication: what is heard is more important than what is said, and agree on what time is too late to carry on difficult conversations.
No matter what the relationship is: parent, spouse, or friend these truths are going to help revitalize any relationship. My hope and prayer is that you can use these two major keys of relationships to open up a new level of openness and peacefulness in your relationships.
First Key: what is HEARD is always infinitely more important that what is SAID!
How do we use this key to revitalize relationships?
We start by seeing the critical importance of clarifying statements so that we don’t fall into the viral trap of misunderstanding each other. Although there are many clarifying statements one can use, a simple one that I teach is to say: “what I heard you say was (repeat the main theme of what was said)…is that correct?” Using this phrase after a person talks goes a long way because it gives the speaker a chance to understand what was heard and to change any content if needed.
When used properly clarifying statements can help heal and enhance relationships so that they can thrive!
Second Key: Agree on what time is too late to carry on difficult conversations.
This key was developed by my wife and I early on in our marriage (we have been married since 1995). We noticed a pattern to some of our more difficult arguments: they were late at night. When we observed this and we understood how our brains make simple logical mistakes when we are tired (mistakes not made when we are well-rested) we decided on the law that we were never going to discuss a potentially difficult conversation after 9:00 PM.
The reason this is so important is because as we get tired the prefrontal cortex gets slower and a little sloppy. The prefrontal cortex is the logical controller of the brain that is used to out-vote the emotional impulses of the brain. You can see the reason why it is very important that the prefrontal cortex is well rested during a potentially difficult conversation!
When my wife and I made this decision, we immediately reaped tremendous benefits and our relationship was revitalized.
How about you? Do you need to set a time boundary? If so, please do it, you will be amazed at how this little change can create such a huge blessing.
If you have another minute, you can read the first part of this series here: Cut out this one thing for a stronger marriage today!