Wednesday, March 19, 2008

03/19/08 - Preparing For Marriage (Part 2)

Part One

Last week I blogged about Authentic Communication and it was this post that made my mind start swirling with other areas singles can work on as they prepare for marriage.

I want to share a bit more on this area.

We've all grown up with different families. I have found, in general that there are two types of communication styles within families.

There is the family that openly talkes about things. Your parents share and talk, you confront issues, and no topic is off limits. Actually conversations can easily get heated because of the open style of communication. I'll call these the "Talkers".

Or the other family is one that brushes issues and confrontations under the rug. Everyone is nice to each other, but past hurts and pains are always under the surface. Conflicts never really get resolved because of the unwritten family code that says to just forget it and move on, without ever speaking about the conflict. I'll call these the "Stuffers".

Do you relate to the Talkers or the Stuffers?

If you're family resembles the Talkers, you may be too quick to jump into conversations and topics that should be reserved for later. It may upset you to not have all the issues out on the table. You want to get to the bottom of each matter and not allow time or the Spirit to bring issues to the surface.

If you're family resembles the Stuffers, conflicts may scare you because you're not used to them, so you really avoid those deep, serious issues that need to be talked about. You do know what you really are thinking, but have not learned or just don't want to fully express yourself. Learning to authentically communicate can be uncharted waters.

I have found there should be somewhat of a balance between the Talkers and Stuffers. My family is the Talkers. We cover all issues and no topic of off limit, but I've seen the beauty of letting certain, non-essential topics just sit and not get talked about. I've seen how waiting to talk about something can change my thoughts (mostly because emotionally I've calmed down). I thank John for teaching me things.

In my own experience I have seen that the Stuffers are Stuffers because there are things they wish to not discuss. Past sin, secrets, shame and guilt keep certain topics buried deep. To avoid these issues Stuffers stuff everything and tend to avoid conflict.

Examine your own personal style of communication. Being aware of it as you enter into a relationship heading towards marriage, will greatly enhance that process and your marriage.

6 comments:

Momma Amy said...

I grew up in a family of "Talkers" and married a man from a family of "Stuffers". We have both learned from each others experiences.

I have more that I can say on this subject, but not the time, right now. I will say good communication is necessary and such a blessing to a marriage!

Morgan said...

This is really interesting. I think it applies to all of life and not just marriage. Oh, and we're the Talkers. ;)

Bethany said...

I'm growing up in a family of Stuffers. It's very tough for me sometimes. I've seen how it's affected my communication not only within my family, but with my friends too. I don't want to be this way, and I'm sure many Talkers feel the same way? What can we do to find a Biblical balance?

Anonymous said...

What happens when you have past sins to talk to your spouse about, but saying what the sin would be unnecessarily graphic and could place a stumbling block in your spouse's path? Is it ok to be obtuse and place it in its general category without going into specifics about what exactly it was?

What if you're a talker, who feels a need to be open about *everything* and tends to see that as a virtue? How do you learn how to recognize appropriateness and not feel like if you don't say certain things, you're hiding or being deceptive?

Heather Paulsen said...

Bethany,
I do think there is a good balance and I think it's wonderful that you see how this has affected your communication.

As a Talker, I think the downfall is being too quick to talk about things that need to just wait and also I feel unsettled until a topic has been fully resolved.

Both Talkers and Stuffers have pros and cons! A good balance is key!


Anonymous:

First I think your spouce should know the generals of your sin. They don't need details, unless the details are important in undestanding where you were coming from, what you were thinking.

I have learned to just be okay with everything not getting talked about that moment. It's tough at first, but then you see how waiting on a conversation has changed the outcome in a positive light.

Hope this helps!

Heather Paulsen said...

Someone sent me this e-mail about this blog:

I find your comments on talkers and stuffers deeply interesting. Several years ago, I noticed in my friendships (particularly with guys) that I was continually explaining my actions and motives. I so wanted not to, wishing for simplicity and straightforwardness, but I felt torn because I've so often seen the problems caused by people who don't explain! Ironically, a close platonic friendship ended abruptly when I felt a strong need to remove myself from the relationship. I exited from his life. Without explaining. I didn't want romance but was emotionally attached, something I didn't realize at the time so it wasn't my motivation for leaving. I said goodbye and didn't do a very good job of it, and for two years I've squashed a continued desire to explain. I know leaving was the right thing to do, and I've told myself I'm waiting until I'm certain there's no emotional connection pulling me back, but now, reading your comments, I'm thinking it may be one of those occasions when it needs time (more time) and the Holy Spirit's hand, not mine. So thanks. = ) And the above mentioned friendship is the reason why I was so, so grateful to be introduced to "Emotional Purity", and wishing that I'd read it a decade earlier. May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness and service to Him in this.