This week while evaluating the teaching input of chaplains at 1RTU, it became obvious that what we teach to recruits on workplace relationships is exactly what we need to learn to improve our marriage and family relationships. In fact, if you can master these four skills every aspect of your life will improve! Where do you start?
- Time management!We all have the same amount of time, but some people seem to be able to do more than others. The key is not really managing the time as managing ourselves, disciplining ourselves to know what is most important and do those things first, rather than just react to other people’s agendas. If your relationship is important, prove it by giving it time!
- Communication! This is one of the most fundamental skills in life, we think that it comes naturally but it seems to me that if we do what comes naturally we will blow it every time because we just want to be understood! Rather we need to first listen to understand before seeking to be understood. That is how we build trust, and the more trust, the less words are needed.
- Conflict resolution! There are four basic questions we need ask:
- What is the problem? Maybe the issue is just about poor communication, so start by getting accurate information.
- What are the alternatives? We might choose to ignore it, compromise or brain storm possible solutions, but the key is to be sure of the destination, what resolution looks like.
- How do we get there? Is there a win/win solution which all parties can live with? Each side needs to decide how to make it work.
- How will we know we have arrived? Seek some way to measure progress, allowing for adjustments along the way.
- Take responsibility! The obvious block to all three of the above is emotion. At each stage we must take responsibility for our feelings and behaviour. Here are ten words that we all need to be able to say if we want to build lasting relationships:
- I was wrong
- I’m sorry
- Forgive me
- I love you.
That might seem a lot to ponder in one go, but they are each dependent on the other! You can improve your relationships if you give them some quality time, work on your communication skills, resolve the conflicts that you have avoided and start taking responsibility for the mess you find yourself in. The same applies to your relationship with God, he loves you and wants to help you make your marriage and family life great!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley