Just because you live in the same house doesn’t mean you’re communicating.
Communicating together means to talk about what you need, what you expect, what you’re dreaming about, and where you’re going.
To improve your communication you need to understand the role God’s Word plays.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (See Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45, Proverbs 4:23) People communicate what they believe. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7 that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. They communicate where they are. They communicate what they’re dreaming about.
What happens when you have a family that doesn’t know Jesus and doesn’t have hope for their future?
There’s not a lot of hope to communicate with each other, so when they do talk they’re frustrated, they’re angry, and they’re defensive. They have no source—they think they are the only source which makes them do erratic or angry things. This can create a terrible home life.
God has something better for us.
Now that we understand that principle of communication, we can start talking about how to improve it.
HOW TO IMPROVE FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS
The main way to improve family communication is to increase it. You may be thinking there’s already too much talking, but family communication is more than that.
Here are three ways to increase family communication.
The first step to improving communication in your family is to improve your listening skills. And not just your skill, but your desire to listen. As parents, it can be tempting to zone out when your child is talking about something silly or tell them to be quiet, but learning to listen to your child communicates something to them at the same time.
Half of all communication is listening. Being a good listener means making yourself available even when it doesn’t seem convenient. This includes times when your child is babbling about something that seems silly.
In John chapter 14 Jesus explains that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.
What that indicates is that we’ve taken the time and put enough of a priority on listening to Him and finding out what He has told us to do.
We can apply that principle to listening to our family. If we value and love them, it’s important to spend time listening to them.
That’s an old word for hanging out together. Fellowship and relationship are two different things.
I may be related to you or married to you, but if we’re not talking I don’t know you. Fellowshipping is about spending time together and getting to know each other’s heart better. That’s why presidents invite dignitaries to Camp David. In getting comfortable and doing something together, you are able to relax and get to the heart of a matter better.
Many parents and couples ask how to get their loved ones to open up. This is especially common of mothers with teenage boys. They want to know what’s going on in their life, in their head, and in their heart. The best way to do this is to do something together.
Your children and spouse will open up more when they are doing things. People drop their guard when they do things.
In my family, we built stuff or worked outside together. Another great idea is to get something to eat together. It doesn’t have to be a big vacation, it can just be a game night, but the goal is to get your family spending time together side by side instead of nose to nose.
3. Small Talk
Many people don’t like small talk—men especially can find it frustrating at times. But small talk is how you bond and find common interests. When you are fellowshipping with your family, the greatest way to talk about important stuff is to start with the small stuff.
Don’t feel like you have to have something important or informational every time you open your mouth to talk to your children or your spouse. Practice your listening skills and get your family to share what they are interested in. Then, practice fellowshipping by going and doing some of those activities.
Minutes count just as must as vacation days. What I mean by that is that you don’t have to wait for a holiday or family vacation to talk with each other. The next time you’re in the car running errands or at the house doing chores, don’t zone out, make a point to try small talk, try listening and watch how your family communication improves! Make every minute count.
THIS WILL ENCOURAGE YOU TODAY
Check out this episode of Fighting for Families radio.