Monday, March 30, 2009

"Forgive or Not To Forgive That Is The Question"

I have been talking about communication these last few weeks because I believe the relationship starts and ends there. Your success or failure in any relationship will be measured by your communication. Unforgiveness can be one of the biggest hinderances and barriers to open and honest communication. It can be a poison that leads to anger, bitterness, and resentment. Ask yourself this question when an issue or problem arises and turns to a heated debate, do you dive head first into your backlog of past hurts and mistakes committed against you or just bad choices in general. If you do chances are high you have a reserve tank of unforgiveness that boils over when heated. In other words when we have an issue arise that is troublesome or painful we tend to lump it together with the past hurts or just stack it on top of our old junk. This junk just makes for a bigger mess to clean up and confuses the situation. I'm sure you heard the old saying one step forward two steps back. This is a simple explanation of what unforgiveness does to us in life. Essentially where unforgiveness exists we are always in a deteriorating state. The anger, bitterness, and resentment that we have bottled up inside keeps us looking at the past, hence we never move forward and progress to our future. It's a form of bondage and we can stay there forever if we choose. You see it's our choice. It is just like being a prisoner with a life sentence with no hope for parole. Nothing has to happen externally for us to forgive. We don't need to have someone change or apologize because in most cases that won't happen but we can set ourselves free from the pain and hurts that have left scars on our hearts and minds.

God tells us that we must forgive to be forgiven. The key here is to realize that we all make mistakes and if we get real honest and examine our hearts we will see that we have needed others to forgive us on occassion too. The closer you are to people the more opportunity there is to disapoint or make mistakes. In marriage you are closer to no one more than your spouse which in turn means you will need to forgive each other more often. This sounds like a bad deal but it's actually the opposite. It is a core relationship building block which is one of the reasons God requires it of us. We can't survive without forgiveness. We will all fail, none of us is without sin. So get out of that jail cell and forgive someone today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are You Fighting Fair ?

Can I talk with you for a minute? It starts out innocently enough, our invitation to a conversation with our spouse or significant other. Whats behind door number one, two, or three or the perception of which can be the reason why we don't seem to get resolutions to our issues or we feel like we haven't accomplished anything in the process. Have you ever had that conversation with a spouse that seemed to take an hour but then just kind of faded into exhaustion without a real solution, compromise, or resolution. I think if we're honest we all have at one time or another. The question is how do you communicate to the one's you love? Do you have a structure in place that's promotes value and security or do you just fire away with all guns blazing without warning . You see for us to communicate properly we need a few things to happen.

1. We need to feel safe to share anything and everything. That means without fear or repercussions. (security,trust)

2. We need to know that the person we are talking to is listening. (concerned,engaged)

3. We need to know they understand what we are saying and empathize with us. (validation,value)

If you don't have an enviorment that these principles are present then odds are you haven't heard the entire story. The deeper issues that usually involve pain or hurt feelings that have never been worked through are still present and they tend to grow when unresolved. We tend to enter into our conversation with emotional overload which can stifle anything good coming out of the conversation or any reasonable conclusion. We just create more issues to now resolve. When this takes place usually one emotionally charged person starts a conversation that quickly spirals out of control. This happens mostly because there is a track record of miscommunication, lack of communication, or lack of responsibility for past conversations that have taken place.

We have a choice to make. We can work on our communication skills or we can continue in our state of denial, believing that we never argue or skirt tough issues because they are uncomfortable to talk about. Undoubtedly at some point we just quit trying to talk about certain subject matters because they have led to only negative consequences and an unfavorable result. This is not the way it should be. I hope that you will take this this to heart and put these tips into practice. They can only make your communication more meaningful and your relationships stronger leading to happier more fullfilling life. I have given you a basic structure for meaningful communication now here are some tip that should help also.

1. No water works or crying tyrades

2. No 3rd party opinions are to be brought in to the conversation

3. Refrain from being sarcastic( I know someone is saying that's just how I talk or that's the way I am. (Sorry. It's a choice and if you hurt your loved one's feelings is that worth it.)

4. No threats or ultimatums

5. Don't expect him to read your mind. Guys let her know you understand how she feels.

6. Use only words that build up not tear down. If there were no mistakes in life, we wouldn't learn anything and wouldn't grow.

7. Establish a specific time and proper place for your conversation. (where kids can't here you.)

8. I also recommend a time for family stuff and a time for your relationship stuff and not the same day.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your unique circumstances you can comment anonymously or reply by email. It will not be posted to the blog unless you authorize it. Thank You and God Bless!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ready or Not Here I Come!!

I'm sure you remember as a child playing hide and seek. Someone would count to ten or twenty then cry out READY OR NOT HERE I COME!!! You and the rest of the kids playing would cringe at the sound of those words. We would all of a sudden get quiet and have a heightened sense of awareness to everything going on around you. I can remember hearing the wind blow, the crunching of leaves on the ground, and tree limbs banging into each other as someone was searching for you. This heightened awareness is brought on by our trying not to be found. The quiet opens up our senses to see, hear, and feel so much more about what's going on around us. The thought here is, if we know what's coming we can be prepared for it and if you were an expert in camoflague or very creative in your hiding most of the time you might never be found. Then there were always some kids who were a little more scared of the dark and would choose to hide more out in the open and then run from the seeker.

This is a fairly accurate picture of what happens in life when we have issues that concern us or problems that need solutions or we anticipate conflict and hide in our corners, hoping the trouble will pass. I think that you would agree that any problem that goes unchecked or discussed usually grows with time creating a bigger problem than the original issue. Take a leaky pipe, today it is just a drip but if it goes unchecked or unfixed could rot away an entire structure and cause major issues and potential losses. What could just of needed a turn of a pipe wrench to correct the situation, now with time can be a disasterous mess which will always cost us more in the end, usually much more. The time needed to correct the problem now is multiplied expotentially also.

I don't know about you, but the trials and issues of life that I've had to go through never felt all that great. Our troubles, trials or problems lead us to this almost paralyzed state or to a sprinter state. Some of us hide when difficult issues come our way or situations we don't feel comfortable with talking about. These people are those who just hope that in time their problems will just fade away. "This is the lie we tell ourselves." It never does pass by it just festers and starts polluting other areas of our lives, usually our relationships. Before long it shows up in many different areas of our lives, only it's bigger, uglier, and is causing a lot more damage than the original problem. Now our sprinter see's the issue that is before him and says I'll change my enviorment or my view and I'll move over here. He seemingly is trying to leave his problems behind by changing his geography but the runner sooner or later gets tired and when he is finished realizes that all his running from here to there trying to duck and dodge his issues has caused even more problems and created more barriers to overcome now and he always ends up right back where he started.

The bottom line is this when you come up against issues in life, especially in marraige, don't waste any time getting it on the table no matter what it is and have a plan of communication so you don't have miscommunication or misunderstandings. Always give the benefit of doubt to your spouse or counterpart in the relationship and always think the best of them until you have clarity about what it is they are trying to communicate. Whether your struggles, challenges, or trials are individual or marriage related if they go unchecked will result in greater harm and loss both personally and relationally.

I would love to here your responses, thoughts, and/or questions. Please send them to the email address on the blog. I will get back to you as soon as possible if you need help with structure for better communication or counsel on this topic or any other I will be glad to help. You can leave your comments here anonymosly if you like also.

Thank you and God Bless!
Michael Shumski

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