The talk was shared by Br. Charles Machado of the God's Love Community Charismatic prayer group (Salmiya)
Br. Machado is also the Moderator of the Vicariate web-site, www.catholic-church.org/Kuwait and is a resource person for the Marriage preparation courses in Kuwait.
Below is the detailed text of the points covered by Br. Charles.
Communicating effectively takes practice and a great deal of effort.
Without communication, it is nearly impossible to resolve conflicts or grow your partnership. Whether you are in a troubled marriage, simply seeing the value of a "tune-up", or seeking marriage help, here are some useful tips for communicating effectively within a marriage.
Listen carefully - One of the most important aspects of verbal communication is listening. If we respond to a suggestion or comment before the speaker has had the opportunity to fully express his/her thought, we are being extremely rude.
Realize that no one "wins" an argument. If you leave a discussion without a possible solution to the problem, then neither party has been successful. It is much easier to resolve differences, make plans, or share disappointments, if you both are committed to the fact that you are on the same side.
Compromise is an essential tool to solving problems through communication. Before bringing up a problem, make sure you have thought of ways that you can help solve it by mutual compromise.
Try to be positive when bringing up sensitive marital problems. Instead of jumping right into a discussion, open by acknowledging that every partnership could be improved and you'd like to take some time and discuss the things that are working in your relationship and the areas that could use improvement. It helps to start by talking about positive things and then moving into the deeper discussion on problem areas.
Tell the truth - Somehow we think it is more love to hide our true feelings from those we don't want to hurt. However, a relationship built on hidden feelings, hopes or fears is built on shaky ground. The saying, "Say what you mean and mean what you say," is supported by many Biblical statements.
Feel free to use the "time out" card if the discussion gets too intense. If an argument gets heated and irrational, it is better to postpone the discussion to a time and place where effective communication can happen.
Make sure your body language, facial expressions and vocal tone are in line with your message. One study showed that 55% of the emotional meaning of what you say is expressed by your facial expression. While only 7% of the emotional meaning is verbal. Be honest, direct and focus on the real issue. If you enter a conversation insecure about making your point -- you probably won't make it.
If you can't come up with a definitive solution, at least try to end the conversation on a positive note like "I think it's good we've both shared our feelings and we'll continue to talk about it and try to come up with a better solution." Don't ever be rude or talk down to your partner in a discussion about your relationship. Don't dismiss an idea or thought as absurd, but instead listen to your partner's point and then react with the reasons you disagree in a respectful manner.
Stay on track - If you sit down to talk about a financial problem and suddenly other emotional issues are coming up, realize that you may need to focus on one area at a time in order to create solutions instead of mere bickering.
The 6 Sides of Intimacy
There's something about our psychological, spiritual, and physical makeup that cries out for intimacy with another. That's because God designed marriage to be the most intimate of all human relationships, in which we share life intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. Are you and your spouse intimate in these ways?
Social and Recreational intimacy
This has to do with spending time around the events of life. Much of life involves doing. When we do things together, we not only develop a sense of teamwork, we also enhance our sense of intimacy. Recreational intimacy is enjoying activities together, like running, golfing, or reading. Things as simple as popping popcorn and watching a movie or preparing a meal together can be good ways to build recreational intimacy.
Characteristics of Intimacy
Relationships with healthy intimacy have several factors in common, including the following:
Apologies are the remedy for mistakes that spouses inevitably make. Recognizing mistakes, taking responsibility for them, expressing remorse for any hurt caused, and making a commitment to change the hurtful behavior are all essential to mending the relationship after a mistake. For spouses who have created a chasm of hurts that separate them, offering a sincere and humble apology is the first step in building a bridge over that chasm. Even if you believe that your partner made the mistake, you can begin the healing by finding something you did that calls for an apology.
Dealing with In-laws
A New Loyalty. First, marrying our spouse means we turn our loyalties to him or her. That doesn’t mean we are not loyal to our parents, but that we place priority on our husband or wife. One obvious step to leaving our parents that shows we place priority on our husband or wife is changing homes. Our attention and effort turn toward our family’s well being and happiness and a central home together. Second, becoming one flesh, in addition to referring to a husband and wife joining sexually, suggests we should stand united with our spouse regardless of outside opinions. We are so united with our spouse it’s as if the two of us are one person. Even if other people, such as in-laws, disapprove or offer their opinions, we make our own decisions and stand by them, together.
Independent Identity - You’ll know you’re in a situation where change should occur when you and your spouse don’t feel you have your own identity. One of the purposes of marriage is for a couple to establish an identity that is independent of their parents. If this doesn’t happen, a healthy marriage becomes much more of a challenge. It’s difficult to form an identity together unless each of you learns to rely on the other instead of parents. Part of what it means to have your own identity as a couple is that conflicts are resolved without the involvement of in-laws. If you and your spouse are arguing about any subject, neither has the right to involve a parent in the disagreement. If your spouse brings a parent in on an argument, you’d feel it’s “them against you.” This violates the oneness attitude that should exist in your marriage relationship. As a couple, try to establish as much independence from both families as possible. Establish a family atmosphere that avoids a contest between your two families for your time, attention and affection. Decisions on purchases, home-improvements, children’s-education, investment etc. must be first discussed with your spouse. Seek your in-law’s help only if you feel necessary.
Mutual Respect - In all things, respect your mother and father-in-law. Remember, they are the parents of someone very special – your spouse. If you are a parent of a married child, your son-in-law or daughter-in-law is very special because he or she is your child’s life partner. You need to love your parents, and have a rich and active relationship with them. Try not to criticize your spouse for his/her relationship with his/her parents. It may only lead to more clinginess or complications. Don't compare your spouse's family with your own. Don't direct anger you may feel for your spouse toward his or her family. Treat both families equally and fairly.