Reading time: two minutes. We’re reviewing some of the warning signs of getting out of balance and drifting away from a healthy life with God, healthy relationships and a healthy vocational life. Today, we pick up on relationships and focus on communication in marriage; intellectual wellbeing. Quite simply, three major warning signs that your communication is not so good are if there is a competitive aspect to your relationship, if you start to think you’ve heard what’s coming before, and a lack of surprises. Let’s take a closer look! Any relationship where either party feels like either a “the winner” or “the loser” is on shaky ground. It’s not likely to be a conscious assessment, “I won that round!” It’s far more likely to be a feeling of hurt, of unfairness, of being slighted or neglected. It probably comes from a sense that you have not truly been heard. It’s a listening issue. The most natural response to feeling slighted in the relationship works in two ways. Dave Ludwig who developed the Painter/Pointer typology says that when a Painter feels she’s gotten the short end of the stick, she has an unlimited capacity to define herself over and over again. “I’ll get even by re-stating my position a thousand different ways if necessary.” A Pointer will just walk away. He’s comfortable hunkering down in Pointer-ville, simmering and stewing about how he’s been slighted. “I’ll get even by not sharing one bit of how I’m feeling.” The only solution is to humbly, gently, for the sake of the relationship, come back together and say, “Please, speak to me. I’m ready to really listen.” Really listening, and really helping our partners share their true feelings, is also the answer to that frightful practice of rolling the eyes and saying (aloud or silently!) “Here it comes! I’ve heard this before!” If you ever say that or feel that way, then you likely have not ever really heard at all! So if you haven’t had a surprise lately, if you haven’t heard something from your partner that makes you stop and say, “Wow! Where did that come from?” you need to set aside some time for some significant conversation. Every one of us is thinking and experiencing life in new and significant ways every day. None of us is the person we were a year ago, three months ago or even a few days ago. Your partner has lived through hurts and failures and disappointments in recent days. Have you really heard the effect those have had? It’s time for some listening. And we’ve all had surprises, moments of hilarity, successes and insights that are worth sharing. Good listening builds unsinkable bonds of shared experience, the power of building a WE together that nothing else can do. Listening turns strangers into friends and partners. When we laugh together over our joys and when we cry together over our hurts, we are changed and the WE becomes mighty. A marriage partner is a treasure of wisdom, laughter, and joy. Rediscover one another. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!