Having Tender-Hearted Talks

by Susanne Alexander

Susanne Alexander is speaking at the Better Marriages Conference July 11-14 in Raleigh, NC


Store up a heart-full of love from Valentine’s Day and hold it throughout the rest of the year for all your conversations together!
When you talk with your husband or wife, you need to pause to ensure that you are speaking from a place of love.

 

Conversations go best when you carefully consider the possible effect of your words on the heart of your loved one.
Are you prepared to be gentle, compassionate, caring, and tactful, while at the same time speaking honestly from your own heart?

 

Here are guides for your own actions whenever you have serious discussions together:

 

1. “H”: Heart-Centered Start – Focus on being loving, and turn to God in prayer. Examine and purify your motives so there is no intent to manipulate a partner. Detach from what the outcome of the couple discussion will be.

 

2. “E”: Empathize and Encourage – Visualize yourself in your partner’s situation. This will help you with better seeing, understanding, and compassionately accepting the other’s perspective. You can then offer positive and encouraging words and actions.

 

3. “A”: Apply Character Qualities – Before and during a discussion, focus on the virtues of compassion, confidence, courage, courtesy, discernment, honesty, humility, joyfulness, moderation, patience, purposefulness, respect, self-discipline, truthfulness, unity, and wisdom.

 

4. “R”: Refine Your Words – As you are talking, remove coarse, vulgar, or degrading elements; remain precise, clear, and pleasant to hear; use a respectful tone of voice and kind language; raise concerns without attacking your partner’s character or the character of others; reduce criticism; respect the value of your partner’s words.

 

5. “T”: Talk and Listen in Balance – Maintain a balance between keeping totally quiet and excessively talking. Your honest voice is needed in the discussion for it to be possible for truth to emerge. Listening allows you to fully hear your partner’s point of view. Summarizing what you have heard helps you to check for understanding. Both sharing and listening are needed to achieve the best possible decision. Welcome a diversity of opinions and perspectives. Encourage one another to fully share.

 

One key point made above is that of detaching from the outcome of a discussion at the beginning. When you are fixed on what decision you should be making as a couple, you make yourself right and your spouse wrong. Unity between the two of you is disrupted.

 

When you take this position at the beginning of a discussion, it also does not allow room for creativity, new ideas, and God-guided insights to emerge. We can never know what will emerge when ideas bump against each other, new ideas are sparked, or new solutions arise. Excellent discussions often lead to something entirely new being created. All of which is guaranteed to make both of your hearts very happy!

 

Susanne Alexander is a marriage columnist for Marriage Transformation

 

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