I went to church every Sunday. It was the family oriented kind of church that preached every week on how to keep ones family strong. That included extensive studies on not getting offended, how to show one another you love each other, bitterness, and joy. I had also taken psych 101, and studied communication differences between men and women for a class report by reading books such as Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and books by Deborah Tannen.
This training did absolutely nothing for me when it came to the real deal. The differences between my husband and I did not fit the stereo-types. Therefore I had to find my own way to peaceful communication in my home. I would have to say before looking at any information between the differences between men and women one should look at the dynamics within their childhood homes. Those cycles of dysfunction, those thinking errors he or she developed in childhood, and the very same communication styles and other habits most likely have found their way into your marriage. People don't even have to tell you where he or she comes from for you to have an idea. The reason is because we practice largely what we have been shown. This is a list of things I have learned about communication from my marriage.
- Never argue the point. You will never convince anyone that they are wrong by arguing, especially if you are arguing with someone who might 'stretch the truth' or only are willing to look at their own perspective.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- Listen. This is on every top ten list for good communication, but it is definitely not going to work unless you...
- Ask questions. Make sure you are clear on the point the other person is trying to make.
- Repeat their point back to them. This can be fun. I don't mean it should give you a license to be sarcastic, but, really, when the other person finally hears himself then that could change the whole course of the conversation.
- Again, don't argue. Once the conversation has shifted to something else don't shift back by saying, "but you said..." Truth is, the person could still be trying to figure out what is going on. ^_^
- Stay solution focused. This may take some repetition on your part. Sometimes we don't actually get our questions answered so we must politely ask, " I was wondering what that such and such answer to my question was."
- Amends. Be quick to apologize. Mend hurt feelings and miscommunication for the person you are communicating with, then get right back to the solution to the problem. If your feelings are hurt, take care of them after the other issue has been settled or there will only be more confusion.
- Communicate one thing at a time. If other issues come up during the conversation remember, remember, remember what the problem at hand is and what the solution is.
- Focus on the solution, not on the blame. Everyone knows whose fault it really is, we don't have to argue that point. The only thing we can do for a problem is to focus on the solution. We can't fix anything with blame. Take care of your side of the street.
- Put God first and everything will fall into place. This isn't God first, then someone or something else. It should really be 'God is on the throne of my heart and no one else, period!' Gods commands to worship no other God but Him was made for our sakes! He never made a rule that wasn't made in our best interests. No other person even wants to take the place of God. It puts untold amounts of pressure on people when your expectations, faith, and trust are in them instead of God. But God loves that position. Let God have it, and let Him prove Himself to you.
I would also encourage these principles for good communication to be taught to children so they can be empowered to solve their own problems with siblings, adults, and friends.