As we kick-off REALtalk, we want to start with short conversations between our founders, Dale and Jena Forehand, that, we hope, will spur greater and deeper conversations on our topic in your relationship.
As a reminder,
The goal of REALtalk is to provide you with ways to build real relationships
and find real answers to real-life situations while discovering
how to really connect with the Lord, your family,
and with others in meaningful ways.
So, why Conversations from the Couch? We are glad you asked.
In April of 2022, Dale and Jena visited the 4GVN Ranch in rural Montana for a time of refreshing and refueling. One of their goals during this time away was to simply sit down and talk about the future, dream together, and make plans for the fulfillment of those dreams. It was during this time that they decided to sit down on the ranch house couch and record three conversations covering a few need-to-know topics for real relationships.
As we prepared to launch REALtalk, it became evident that these three short conversations would make a great introduction to our summer focus. We are excited to kick off this summer focus and are believing that The Lord has great things in store for all of us as we have some REALtalk together.
- Here is how REALtalk will work -
Each week we will
- release a Video Conversation across Social Media on Monday afternoons.
- release a Blog Transcription of each week's conversation on Wednesdays.
*The blog post will also include a few questions for you to use alone
or together with your spouse to dive deeper into each weekly topic.*
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We are praying that these conversations from the couch are, above all else, real and that they make difference in your marriage and relationships.
Today, we want to look at this statement.
Relate, don't retaliate.
So many times, when it comes to relating to other people, we hear the word "relationship" but we don't look at what makes up the word. "Relationship" comes when two people relate to one another.
Of course, that might even open up more questions.
What does relate even mean in this context?
For us, it means this.
I relate to another person when I seek to understand
and connect with the other person and where they are coming from.
In the course of any relationship, we can see the following pattern.
1. Person A makes a statement that Person B doesn't fully understand,
or that Person B "interprets" a meaning for.
2. Person B then decides to retaliate to the perceived insult
with a curt comment, giving Person A the cold shoulder, or a raised voice.
3. Tension has now entered the atmosphere and the situation explodes into a mess that will need to be cleaned up at a later time.
What could have happened in the midst of this three-step pattern to lead the involved parties to a tension-free, calm atmosphere where there is no mess to clean up?
We would suggest that instead of Person B retaliating, they instead try and relate (seek to understand and connect with the other person) through conversation and healthy question asking.
Questions like, "what did you mean by ___?" or "Help me understand why you made that choice" are excellent conversation starters because they are open-ended and invite the other person into the conversation with more than "yes" or "no" answers.
When we invite others into a conversation and ask open-ended questions, we allow the other person to retain their power and dignity by giving them the opportunity to explain their "side" of the situation.
When we choose to open the door for healthy, life-giving conversations we remove the potential for us to be "at odds" with one another, and instead move forward, relating to each other, in the relationship.
This phrase - relate, don't retaliate - has served us well in our moments of heated fellowship. To choose to relate is to choose to suppress the sinful, flesh response of trying to "win" when we find ourselves in a real (or perceived) conflict. As with all sinful, flesh responses - this doesn't work well. ever.
As we have learned this principle of asking "help me understand where you are?" or "help me understand what you meant by that?", we have found that The Scripture has proved itself true.
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water;
but a man of understanding will draw it out.
There is a beautiful thing to be experienced in relationships when we seek out the answers to questions like
- why did you/I say that
- why did that trigger something in you/me?
- what did you/I hope to accomplish in this conversation?
- what makes you/me respond that way?
The call to understand the other person, followed by the desire to truly work at that understanding, helps me fulfill my goal to relate to the other person.
Part of having real relationships is - when something tough is said, choosing to go towards the situation and draw out what was really being said behind what you heard. The goal is always to seek for and draw out the heart of the person you are relating to.
Remember, real relationships really do relate
Dale and Jena Forehand are the founders of Stained Glass Ministries a non-profit 501 C3 ministry. They offer conferences and resources to build real relationships.
To find out more about their amazing grace story of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage to one another visit their website www.daleandjena.com.
You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram at @daleandjena
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1 - WHAT TYPE OF OPEN-ENDED QUESTION DO I RESPOND BEST TO? WHAT TYPE OF OPEN-ENDED QUESTION DOES MY SPOUSE/FRIEND/ETC RESPOND BEST TO?
2 - ARE THERE OBVIOUS TRIGGERS IN MY LIFE THAT I AM GIVING POWER TO, INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO RELATE TO THE OTHER PERSON?
3 - ARE THERE RELATIONSHIPS IN MY LIFE WHERE I AM NOT ACTIVELY SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND AND CONNECT WITH THE OTHER PERSON AND WHERE THEY ARE COMING FROM?
We would love to hear how this topic and these questions are impacting your life. Please comment below any thoughts, answers to our questions, or ask any follow-up questions to keep the conversation going.