Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Secret for Increasing Understanding in Relationships

   Most everyone—including you, I believe—longs to increase understanding in their relationships. I recently discovered a secret that's helped tremendously: asking questions instead of making statements. It works like this:

           I could say to my husband, “You never left clothes on the floor for the first thirty years of our marriage. Now all of a sudden you’ve become a slob.” Or I could ask, “Would it help you if I moved the hamper to your side of the bedroom, so it’s easier for you to toss your clothes in there at night, when you’re tired?”

I’ve gone from critical to helpful.

             I could tell one of my grandchildren, “Don’t act so selfish! Think of others sometimes, not just what benefits you.” Or I could ask, “Do you feel like you’re  sometimes not getting your fair share of things?” Or, “Have you noticed that the kids who willingly share their things have a lot more friends?”

I’ve gone from off-putting to empathetic.

  I could scold my elderly mom with, “I’ve told you a hundred times that your continual sniffling during church distracts me. I think you’re purposely doing that to exert your will over mine.” Or I could ask, “Are you feeling okay today?” Or simply, “Will you please blow your nose?”

I’ve gone from offensive to considerate.

           When we ask questions, it shows another that we care about them, we want to know them better, and we’re striving to increase our understanding of them. We don’t use questions as a magic formula for making people cooperate with us, but as a doorway into their hearts, to show them our love and respect.  

So. . . Are you having a good day today? How is your life in general going? Anything concerning you that I can pray about? I care about you.

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