“What we have here is failure to communicate.” That is a line from an old movie, but I find it true in a lot of marriages. They let differences, business, entertainment, children or other things keep them from meaningful communication. In our society it helps to have a plan for daily communication.
Christian Pairs, written by Rick Marks (my friend), and Lori Gordon has put together a tool called the Daily Temperature Reading to help couples get beyond surface talk. The biggest challenge is to set a time daily to do this 15 minute exercise. So start by setting a time daily.
Now we are ready to communicate. First, we start by sharing one thing you appreciate about your partner (I Thess. 5:18). It can be a character trait or an activity (II Thess. 3:3). Only share one as you will be doing it daily. Both partners share on each point. Example: “I appreciate your ability to talk to anyone at any time.” Second, we share new information. This is something that has happened recently that you haven’t yet told your partner. It could be a phone conversation or something that happened at work. Example: “I talked to Aunt Hezzie yesterday”.
Third, we share a puzzle. This can be anything you have a question about. It can be about your relationship, your family, your schedule, or friends. It cannot be a complaint. Example: “When are you going to the dentist this week?”
Fourth, we share a concern we have with a recommendation. Example: “I am concerned about us going to bed at the same time. It is important to me. How about 11pm as a time we aim for?” The partner simply repeats what they heard. “So you are concerned about going to bed at the same time and you would like for us to go to bed at 11 pm.) Don’t discuss it til later. This gives you time to be heard on an issue and not challenged.
Fifth, we share a wish, hope, or dream. This needs to be positive, so don’t use negative words like not or never. Example: “I have a dream of going to Hawaii for our 20th wedding anniversary.” Try not to say “keep dreaming.”
Sixth, we recommend that you make a prayer request (Heb. 13:20). Example: “One thing you could pray for me today is that I would keep a positive attitude.”
Seventh, pray for one another. Please pray for only what your partner requested. Keep it simple and short. Example: “Lord, I pray for Lori that she would be able to keep a positive attitude. Amen.”
This is the Daily Temperature Reading. It is a great tool to keep you communicating. To review, here are the steps:
- New Information
- Puzzle (?)
- Concern with Recommendation
- Wish, Hope, or Dream
- Prayer Request
- Pray for Partners Request
This is a powerful tool if you use it daily! So start by setting a time you can do it daily, and then post it in a visible place where you plan to do it. Example: On the head board of your bed or on the wall at the breakfast table.
That way, you will see it and be reminded of it. Don’t have a failure to communicate destroy your marriage. Take your marriage temperature daily.
Christian Pairs by Rick Marks and Lori Gordon
Pairs Training by Lori Gordon