How To Dialogue As Couples Vol. 1, By Dr. PC Akubueze

Marriage is one institution that suffers from many crises. Its crises have no respect for culture, religion, skin color, language, financial status or national borders. One of the reasons for the increase of divorce rate in most communities is not necessarily the lack of love, but the inability for couples to understand each other. Some couples love themselves but prefer to live separately because of the lack of effective communication. Some even after divorce still love their ex-partners, yet enjoy to keep the distance between them. Thus, If one separates or divorces and still desires the ex-partner, then something is missing somewhere. Don’t you think so? Something is missing that could have helped avoid the divorce in the first place. You see, couples need effective communication for better understanding.

The reasons for this article are to help couples better understand their partners via dialogue, communicate effectively, enrich their love life, and consequently decrease the rate of separation and divorce. For these to be true, however, you must not only read but apply the principles shared in this article. And after reading it, don’t throw it away, for you may need it later. It is also a good present for a friend because every tear has the same color.

Before we go further, let me define a dialogue by starting with what it is not. A dialogue is not a command or an authoritative decree. It’s not a monotone or a monologue. Having a dialogue is not to dictate one’s conscience to the other, or to make a declaration. A dialogue is a conversation between two or more people, free from any domineering influence, that can help reach an amicable agreement. It’s a frank discussion in areas of disagreement in order to resolve them. In any dialogue, there is more than one mind involved.

For couples to understand each other and succeed in a relationship, they need a “Conversational dialogue,” which is the transmission, interchange, or exchange of two minds to form one mind, all motivated by love. Because of love, information, ideas, opinions are exchanged between two lovers’ minds to finally form a single mind, approved and agreed upon by both lovers. People fall in love because of strong conversational dialogue. Conflicting opinions become an opinion because of strong conversational dialogue. Barriers that divide couples are broken down because of strong conversational dialogue. For couples to developed this type of dialogue, it’s important that they consider the following.  

1) Always be a good and attentive listener to your partner. The Bible tells us that, “Everyone should be quick to listen” (James 1:19). A good listener is swift to hear you speak and gives you his attention free from distractions. The advancing technology in our generation has affected our ability to listen good. Some of us are not aware or honest about the truth that our attention is divided when it comes to listening to others. It’s not hard to see people glued to their TV, smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc., when talking or listening to someone. For couples to dialogue effectively, they need each other’s full attention, which includes the mind, eye contact, opened ears, and a hushed mouth.

2) Always respond only when your partner has finished speaking. Two of you can’t speak at the same time. Who would listen to whom? And if your partner hasn’t finished speaking? Keep listening. It’s a shame to give an answer before you hear the question. Even if you know the answer before the question, please, give the answer only after the question is asked. For couples to enhance their dialogue and avoid confusion, it is wise to heed this Biblical advice: “He who answers before listening is an act of folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

3) Always tell the truth. The Bible tells us not to lie to each other (Colossians 3:9). It also says that we must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to our neighbors (Ephesians 4:25). Many marriages are destroyed today because of lies that were discovered later. The lifespan of any lie is short. You can hide behind your lies but one day, the truth would be known. You cannot afford to lie to the partner you claim you love, because love is honest and rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). Don’t lie to win his or her heart. A partner who truly loves you would not stop loving you because you told the truth. Be honest, truthful, and faithful to your partner. 

4) Always be quick to resolve issues. Do you ignore little issues and call them inconsequential? Do You say it doesn’t matter? This doesn’t help things at all. Does it? You may be surprised to hear that what some people called a “little issue” was what caused their divorce. Little marital issues grow bigger over time when ignored. A conflict is a conflict no matter how small it is and must be resolved quickly before it turns into something else.  

5) Always acknowledge your mistake. We are all humans subject to mistakes at one time or the other. Don’t allow your mistake to hinder you from having a conversational dialogue with your partner. Rather, acknowledge your mistake when brought to your knowledge. When you know that you are wrong, don’t hide it. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t overlook it. And don’t call it insignificant. Even if your spouse doesn’t talk about it. Don’t let your pride fool you. It’s your duty as an honest lover to acknowledge it before your partner. The Bible says to confess your sins to each other (James 5:16).

6) Always asks for forgiveness. This automatically follows the one above. If you’ve acknowledged your mistake, don’t keep quiet about it indefinitely, but ask for forgiveness. Let your partner know that you are sorry about it. A partner that loves you will forgive you. And you would not lose respect in so doing. Rather, it brings healing to the soul, and strengthens the love in that relationship. We’re asked by God to forgive one another if there’s any grievance against someone (Col 3:13). This is not true, however, if you don’t ask for forgiveness.

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