The 9 Strategic Ways Couples Can Enhance Relationship Dialogue
Meeting and knowing people is a beautiful experience. It is what adds spice to existence and makes it memorable. As people get to know each other, relationships are built. Relationships are of paramount importance that even our Heavenly Father desires we have one with Him and with others (Jn. 3:16, Jer. 31:33-34, Jas. 5:16, Prov. 27:17). In a relationship, there is a need to know the person in question and be aware of what surrounds him/her. The need for this knowledge necessitates a relationship dialogue. And that brings us to the question, what is a relationship dialogue?
A relationship dialogue is a conversation between two or more people that involves them reasoning together and expressing their views such that everyone’s view is heard and appreciated to achieve the desired goal— to know more about the other and make amends where necessary. Dialogues in relationships are very important and so must be enhanced. To this end, there is a need to proffer ways in which it can be enhanced, hence the reasons for the 9 strategic ways couples can enhance relationship dialogue. Some of these ways are:
1) HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:
To enhance a good relationship with men, one must have a good relationship with God. When you know God and relate with Him well, you will not find it hard to do so with your spouse (Jn. 4:7-8, Jn 14:15). Through prayer, consistent study of the Word of God, and daily dependence on the Holy Spirit for help, we can relate with God and know Him better (Jn 1:1, Lk. 5:16, Ex. 33:11, Jn. 16:12-15).
Living life with the Word of God as a mirror makes relationships and life, in general, sweeter, easier, holy, and successful. God is not a monster who will bark at us if we ask. Rather, He will answer us and we will be astonished at how the Holy Spirit will transform us and make our relationship dialogues better (Matt. 7:7, 1 Jn. 5:14-15).
2) LISTENING AND PAYING ATTENTION:
A relationship dialogue between a couple involves TWO people. It profits no one when one person involved keeps talking and talking without any response or validation from the other. As the mouth of one speaks, the ears and mind of the other should be very active. Just showing that one is actually listening to what the other is saying could be an encouragement to the other. A nod, asking questions, replying, eye contact, and showing empathy could prove quite helpful. When one truly listens to what the other is saying, it harnesses understanding and shows care thereby enhancing dialogues in the relationship. In the Bible, we are constantly reminded to ‘listen’ (Jas. 1:19, Prov. 4:1, 5:1).
3) LOVING ONE ANOTHER:
Loving one another is our duty as children of God who love and respect our Father (1 Jn. 4:11-12, Matt. 22:37-40). A couple is to love each other truly as Christ has loved us. Being friends in a marital relationship is a characteristic of true love. If a couple claims they are friends and they truly love each other, they would be keen to talk to, care for, and sympathize with each other.
If love is present in a marital relationship, then dialogues in the relationship will be something that is looked forward to and not dreaded. Someone who truly loves will care for, forgive and help his/her partner to be God’s ideal person (1 Cor. 13:4-7). True love comes from God. For one to ‘do’ love and not just ‘say’ it, then he/she must know God for God is love itself (1 Jn. 4:7-8). This is one of the 9 strategic ways couples can enhance relationship dialogue.
4) TRUSTING ONE ANOTHER:
In my opinion, I do not think any relationship can be built without trust. For any two to actually walk together, they must agree and one can only agree with someone he/she trusts (Amos 3:3). It would be suicide to relate everything about your life to someone who you know would backstab you later on or remind you of your secrets a hundred times in the future. As couples, there should be trust for each other and one cannot trust someone who is bent on falsehood and betrayal. Therefore, to enhance dialogues in relationships, we need guidance and discernment from God to trust rightly, speak and live rightly.
5) STRENGTHENING ONE’S WEAKNESSES:
Who would dare to confront a roaring lion? No one, of course! In a real sense, even when someone would love to voice out and open up to a meaningful dialogue, the thought of having someone who would shout, blast, rage, and judge everything the other has to say can keep one from speaking out. We must learn to control our anger for it does not help us in any way-mentally or spiritually (Jas. 1:19-20, Prov. 19:19).
In another case, one would not know the other’s problems if he/she never voices out. People do have weaknesses and couples are not an exception. Each one must learn to strengthen and work on his/her weaknesses with the help of the Holy Spirit for He is our Helper and Teacher (Jn. 14:26). If each spouse plays his/her own role, there will be healthy dialogue in the relationship.
6) AVOIDING BLAME GAMES:
In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were questioned by God on who had sinned, Adam was quick to blame Eve, and Eve in turn blamed the Serpent. Consequently, they were all punished. (Gen 3:12-19). In a relationship like marriage, each spouse should learn to own up to his/her own mistakes. Rather than play the blame game, the phrase, “I am sorry” can come in quite handy.
Blaming each other only adds salt to injury and inflicts pain, hurt, and anger thereby not making room for a healthy relationship dialogue. On the contrary, when each spouse is ever ready to apologize and treats the other the way he or she would like to be treated instead of apportioning blame, it makes the marriage a safe haven (Matt 7:12). This is another strategic way couples can enhance relationship dialogue.
7) BEING MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU SAY:
Words can build or tear down, they can heal or hurt. So to enhance a healthy relationship dialogue, one must learn to be mindful of what he/she says. Saying things that remind people of how useless, worthless, and insignificant they are to you does not encourage the other person to speak to you because he/she would not want a repeat.
Consequently, the other spouse keeps shut and keeps out leading to little or no dialogue in the relationship. Even if there is, it would be a one-man thing even in the presence of the other. The Bible enjoins us to use only words that are, “…helpful for building others up according to their needs” (Eph. 4:29). If we truly obey this scripture, then there will be healthy dialogues in our relationships.
8) DOING AND SAYING THE LITTLE THINGS:
How do you feel when someone tells you, “I am sorry”, “Please” or “Thank you”? As little and insignificant as these words may seem, they wield the power to soften any heart. Saying these words may hurt one’s pride but they will not kill. Rather, in time, one will be glad he/she did. Pride destroys, and beautiful relationships go down the drain because of it. Jesus Christ who was God Himself humbled Himself even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:3-11).
He related with all not minding His status as the Son of God (Mk. 2:15, Lk. 8:1-3). God, Himself requires that we say sorry and thank you, so there is no excuse. Being humble, asking questions like, “How did your day go?”, showing care, and doing other little things can go a great deal in enhancing relationship dialogues between couples.
9) CHANGING AND FORGIVENESS:
Although mentioned last here, it is very important. If someone tells me to improve on my table manners and day after day, I keep repeating the same mistakes and prove so adamant about correction, would the person relate with me well? Certainly not. So it is in a marital relationship, when one person expresses his/her views, of displeasure perhaps, concerning the other, there should be a reasonable approach to the situation and a resolve to change by the other.
If one keeps being obstinate in what he/she does, then there will be no effective dialogue. Also, we are to forgive the wrongs done to us just as God forgives us and also erase the record (Eph. 4:32, 1 Cor. 13:5). We are to be transformed to the image of Christ and Christ is perfect so we must be too (2 Cor. 3:18, Rom. 12:2, 1 Pet. 1:13-16, Eph. 4:22-24).
There is no way a relationship can be successful and progress if there are no effective dialogues in the relationship. We must be determined to work on our dialogues and the relationship as a whole. Our God is faithful. He is our Father, Friend, Master, Counselor, and Helper. If we can relate with Him well, then relating with others would be a piece of cake. This here concludes the 9 strategic ways couples can enhance relationship dialogue. Have something to add? Please, share with us in the comment section below.
Thank you for reading and God bless you all.