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Jan 20

1/7 So our couple had to face the need to find Conflict Solutions

fidelity couple2Something clicked between Mickey and Priscilla. The first thing they really wanted to face was their difference. ‘Good on them!’ … as the Aussie would say.  After two heated discussions they booked into a great class on Conflict Resolution. The following posts are some of what they learned about themselves.

Steps to effective listening

Following are some ways Mickey and Priscilla resulted to face together. How could they learn to effectively listen to each other?

1. Listen actively – This means not just hearing, but becoming involved in the conversation. They began to practice these ways of assuring each other than they were listening:

* Paraphrase – That is, sum up what the person has said and give it back to them,
* Clarify – Ask questions until you understand what they meant,
* Giving Feedback – Give your reactions to what they said, both thoughts, feelings or spiritual discernment:
* Aiming to be immediate – communicate back as soon as you understand,
* Trying to be honest,
* Be supportive – use tactful, gentle words.

2. Listen with empathy

It is important to really understand that ‘being human’ means making mistakes and feeling inadequate. We are all trying to survive, search for happiness; and we all experience pain. Jesus had compassion and empathy on those around Him, because He experienced our pain:

Empathy is responding to the other person’s feelings, hearing the other ‘below the surface’. Empathy is to reflect back their feelings. The trouble is often we do not know our own feelings, so how can we ‘hear’ another person’s?

3. Listen with openness

We all have trouble setting aside our judgments and opinions. But we cannot learn new things, if we are locked into finding fault or stereotyping people. Openness is setting aside our prejudices and hearing what the other person is saying.

4. Listen with awareness

How ‘real’ is the person being? How does what they say fit in with the known facts? What are we observing about their behaviour or feelings, without judging them personally? The Bible encourages us to be aware:

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. … The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
(Luke 6:43-45)

5. Awareness is to be conscious of the person’s core messages, that is:

* What are their feelings?
* What is their experience?
* What is their behavior?
* What is the context of it all?

This wasn’t a quick process for our couple; neither will it be for anyone seriously interested in improving their ability to really list to others.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author


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