Category: Communication

Processing Anger Healthily, Pt. 4

When you are angry, the first positive step is to admit to yourself that you are angry. Say it aloud, “I’m feeling angry.” The second step is to ask God to help you handle your anger in a positive way. “Lord, help me to do what is right and good with my anger.” The third step is to ask: Did someone sin against me? If so, the biblical answer is to lovingly confront the person and seek reconciliation. On the other hand, if you are angry simply because something happened that irritates you, then ask: “What can I learn from this experience?” If the other person habitually arrives late for your appointment, perhaps you can talk with them and negotiate change. Thus, the anger has served a positive purpose. God wants to teach you how to handle your anger in a godly way.

Q&A: Team Culture between Colleagues who are Far Apart

Q: How do we build a “team” culture when I rarely see my colleagues?

Dr. Paul White: Having team-members work from a variety of settings is extremely common in organizations.  As a result, building a sense of “team” can be a challenge and often needs to be done intentionally.

One aspect leaders often forget is, when colleagues work in the same facility, there is a lot of opportunity for informal, spontaneous interactions. Also, there are occasions for eating together at the office, and going out to lunch together with a small group.  Essentially, there are a number of times when you can interact socially – finding out about their weekend, what their kids are doing, leisure activities they are involved in.

In long distance work relationships, these type of interactions rarely happen unless you are intentional.  Most conversations (telephone calls, conference calls, video conferences) are almost solely work- and task-oriented.  So I have found that it is helpful and important to call and “check in” with team members, to see how they are doing, and find out about their life outside of work.  Sometimes it makes sense to actually set up a call with no work-based agenda, so you don’t interrupt them in the midst of an important task.

This is an important first step. Before you can have a sense of “team”, you need to know each of your team members individually.

Processing Anger Healthily, Pt. 3

In my book: Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way, I asked the publisher to print the following statement in the back of the book as a tear out. My suggestion is that you put it on the refrigerator so that when a family member feels angry at another family member, they can take the card, and read it aloud to the person at whom they are angry. Here’s what the card says, “I’m feeling angry right now, but don’t worry. I’m not going to attack you. But I do need your help. Is this a good time to talk?” It brings a little humor into the tenseness and reminds you of what you are not going to do. It also is asking the other person to help you process your anger. It’s an easy way to help family members learn to process anger in a positive way.

Q&A: Bringing the Spark Back to Your Marriage

Q: How can I bring back the spark into our relationship? It feels like we are just brother and sister.

Gary Chapman: I believe that the spark can come back if you learn to speak the love language of the other person and start doing it consistently. By speaking the other person’s love language you touch their heart and cause them to think, “What’s going on here? You’re responding differently to me.” Then they begin to respond differently to you. I don’t know anything that has the potential of stimulating the spark in marriage faster than learning the love language of your spouse and speaking it on a regular basis. Almost every week people to say to me, “When we read your book on the love languages, and we spoke the right language, it literally brought new life to our marriage.” I hope you can do the same and have the spark return to your marriage as well.

Processing Anger Healthily, Pt. 2

Why do people get angry? I believe we get angry when our sense of ‘right’ is violated. But we have two kinds of anger: definitive anger – when someone has wronged us, and distorted anger – when things didn’t go our way. Much of our anger is distorted. The traffic moved too slowly. Our spouse didn’t do what we wanted. This distorted anger is still very intense and must be processed. Here’s a question: Would it be helpful if I shared my anger with someone? In sharing it, might I improve things for everyone? Or, should I simply ‘let it go?’ Whatever you do, do something positive. Don’t hold anger inside. Anger was meant to be a visitor, never a resident.

Processing Anger Healthily

When is the last time you felt angry? How did you handle your anger? Was it a pleasant experience for you? How about the people around you? All of us have seen people explode. Many of us have exploded. On the other hand, many Christians pride themselves in holding their anger inside. But internalized anger is bad for your health. The biblical challenge is that when we experience anger, we are to process it in a positive way. That may mean gently confronting the person who stimulated our anger. Or, it may mean asking God to forgive us for being so ‘bent out of shape’ over such a minor matter. Learning to process anger in a timely and healthy way is one of the first lessons for healthy relationships.

Q&A: Getting Someone to Speak your Love Language

Q: How can I encourage my boyfriend to speak my love language, which is words of affirmation?

Gary Chapman: You can’t make someone speak your love language, but you can influence them. The most powerful way to do so is to speak their love language. If you speak his love language on a regular basis, then you can say to him, “You know what would really make me happy?” and tell him something in step with your love language. Because he’s feeling your love, there’s a good chance he will speak your love language. There’s something deep inside of him that wants to be nice to you. Then when you make a request or share an idea that would make you happy he’s very likely to do it. We can’t control people and we can’t make them speak our language, but we can influence them and the greatest influence is loving them in the right love language.

Q&A: How Quiet Couples Can Learn to Communicate

Q: My husband and I are both ‘dead seas’ and never talk.  How can we communicate better?

Gary Chapman: Well, it’s very unusual for two ‘dead seas’ to marry each other, and by ‘dead seas’ we mean people that naturally don’t talk very much. What you may want to do is get some questions that you can ask each other that will stimulate conversation. Dead seas are not going to just start talking all of the sudden but they talk best when they’re asked a question. I wrote a little book some years ago called 101 Conversation Starters For Couples. Every page has another question. You just turn the page every night and ask another question. Each of you get to respond to the question. It’s a simple and organized way to get dead seas to talk more.

What Unity Means in Marriage

At the heart of Christian marriage is the idea of unity. God said, “The two will become one flesh.” Intimacy is the opposite of ‘aloneness.’  God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Something deep within man cries out for the companionship of a woman, and the woman has a similar desire for intimacy with a man. Marriage is designed to satisfy that deep search for intimacy. But this intimacy is not simply the joining of two bodies in a sexual experience. It is the joining of two souls in the deepest possible way. Intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically we join our lives together. This intimacy grows with each passing day, if we take time to talk and listen, pray together, and seek God’s guidance.

Q&A: Discovering Someone’s Love Language

Q: How can I help my fiancé discover his Love Language?

Gary Chapman: Well, I think you can probably discover his language if you do three things. First, observe his behavior: How does he typically respond to other people? If he’s giving them verbal Words of Affirmation, that’s probably his language because we speak our own language. Secondly, what does he complain about? Because the complaint reveals his love language. If he says to you, “We’re not spending enough time together,” he’s telling you that Quality Time is his language. And then thirdly, what does he request most often? If he often says to you, “Could you give me a back rub?” he’s telling you that Physical Touch is his language. So you can discover his language and then communicate it to him.