This Tool Transformed Our Relationship

 

I was recently asked, “What is the secret to a great relationship?” My immediate answer, “Communication!” This may not be the only secret to a good relationship but it is arguably the most important.communication
This is especially true in a marriage relationship. My wife, Tammy, and I went through what we call our “marriage conversion” a few years ago and we learned this one communication tool that has transformed our marriage! Maybe this tool can be helpful in your marriage as well.

Dialogue

This is an invaluable tool my wife and I learned at a marriage retreat a few years ago. This is how it works:

  1. Question – Agree on a question to answer. I will give a list of questions at the bottom of this blog to help you get started. Both of you answer the same question.
  1. Write – Both of you will separately take 10 minutes (timed with a timer) to write a love letter to your spouse answering the question that both of you agreed upon ahead of time. Write the letter specifically to your spouse. Open with Dear _____, and close it with a typical love letter closing. Hence, it is a love letter and not an opportunity to
    “let your spouse have it”. Be honest and also be loving in your letter.
  1. Together – The two of you will agree on a time to come together to share and discuss each other’s letters.
  1. Read – Set the timer for 10 minutes and then exchange letters. Read through the letter twice. Once with your mind and once with your heart.
  1. Discuss – When you are both finished reading each other’s letter, take the remainder of the 10 minutes to discuss the contents with each other. Again, this is a time to be both honest and loving.
  1. Next question – Go ahead and agree on the next day’s question before you finish. My wife and I usually have a list of several questions so we just go straight down the list with a new question each day.

Hope through relationshipsWe have done this little exercise six days a week for the past two and a half years (we take one day a week as a break). It has transformed our communication which has, in turn, transformed our marriage. I believe it can have a similar effect in your marriage.

Here are ten questions to help you get started over the next eleven days (remember, you may want to take a break one day per week). If you would like some additional questions please email me: TommyLanham@TommyLanham.com

  1. What was your first impression when you met your mate for the first time?
  2. What is your definition of a good marriage?
  3. When is your relationship the happiest?
  4. What quality do you like best in your mate?
  5. What is your idea of a great vacation?
  6. What are your goals in your marriage?
  7. Express appreciation to your mate for something that he/she did recently?
  8. What do you enjoy doing as a couple?
  9. What one thing do I want to change about myself that I think would please you?
  10. What do I love most about you today?

Resources for Questions
The Ungame: Couples Version
101 Conversation Starters for Couples. Gary Chapman & Ramon Presson
You can also Google: questions for couples


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

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3 Solid Principles for Stronger Relationships

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3 Solid Principles for Stronger Relationships

     It is estimated that over 99% of counseling is relationship counseling. 70% of people who are fired are fired because they did not get along or fit in. A 20-year Harvard study showed that relationships affect physical health more than food, exercise, or even genetic makeup. It is plain to see that relationships are significant. Even Jesus said there is no commandment greater than loving God and loving people (Mark 12:30-31). As we enter the month of February, the month for relationship and romance, let’s take a look at 3 solid principles for stronger relationships.

  1. Respect

Make people feel understood and appreciated. 46% of people who leave their job say it is because they didn’t feel respected or appreciated. Make sure your respect is genuine. Les Giblin says, “You can’t make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody.”

 

  1. Patience

Control your anger. The Bibles tells us, “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry” (Ephesians 4:26, The Message). There are some situations when we should be angry. However, if we want to build stronger relationships, we must channel that anger in a constructive way to resolve a situation, not hurt the other person. You can never build a better relationship with someone you are angry with. Be careful with the words you use toward people you want a better relationship with. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.

  1. Forgiveness

Be as gentle with other’s faults as you are your own. The core of the Bible’s message is forgiveness – forgiveness we receive and forgiveness we give. “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, The Message). Unfortunately, we like to categorize sin into big sins and little sins. This is the way we categorize it: Big sins are the ones you do and little sins are the ones I do. If you want to build better relationships with those you love, you must be as gentle with their faults as you are your own.

Look for the Best in Each Other

Respect, patience, and forgiveness can catapult your relationships to a whole new level. Whether they be your relationship with your spouse, kids, extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or customers. Here is my last bit of encouragement from the Bible concerning relationships:

Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.          -1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 (The Message)

What additional solid principles could you share to help us build stronger relationships?

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Tommy Lanham is a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus. He is an experienced, trusted and highly enthusiastic speaker who communicates life changing truths in an entertaining way. He connects with his audience inspiring them to take action.

He travels to speak on goals, priority management, faith, personality types and other related topics. If you would like to find out more about Tommy’s speaking and coaching, please visit his website:
www.TommyLanham.com