Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Orientation Training...Marriage/Relationship Seminar

MAF's policy is that family is your first ministry. Boy do I ever agree with that! On top of that, your home life effects your field life. If something isn't right at home and you go fly, don't you think the distractions will affect your mindset? So, we spent two days talking about our family in a training with a counselor/coach. We approached different aspects of marriage such as listening, communication, conflict, sex, children, and we even threw in a few jokes! This training was very helpful in so many ways.

The training began with a discussion on conflict and why humans have conflict. It sums up to how everyone interprets information. All information is fed into our minds and the information either meets our wants/needs or it does not. So that data is interpreted as either positive (meeting our wants/needs) or negative (does not meet our wants/needs). So what are our wants/needs? Everyone has the basics: food, air, water, shelter, and safety. But beyond that are things like companionship, joy, trust, self-expression, affection, stability, etc. And each person has a different list of things that are important to them. The first step is to realize what those wants/needs are and make sure that your spouse is helping to meet those needs. 

Building on this foundation, we began to talk about listening styles and nonviolent communication. I have to admit that the nonviolent communication was difficult. It has nothing to do with physical contact but the use of violent (judgmental) language when communicating. For example: "This room is a mess and you kids are driving me nuts!" When in reality, the kids did not make you crazy by forcing that emotion on you. They way you interpret their actions is completely up to you. A more accurate and nonviolent form of communication would be something like: "When I see your toys scattered around the living room, I feel irritated, because I am needing order. Would you be willing to come inside and put your things away?" In general, it is very hard to discern emotions from verbs when it comes to words you frequently use to describe how you think you feel. Talking like this takes a lot of practice but it does make communication better when you can talk to someone free of judgment and harsh language.

The next part of the training was the "taboo" subject of sex in marriage. Even typing it out makes me blush! But it is an important topic in order to help a marriage grow stronger. We discussed the different levels of affection and how everyone has different ideas and opinions. We were then given an opportunity to discuss these categories as a couple and the counselor was available for one-on-one time if we had any questions. 

From there, we transitioned into the topic of parenting. Let's just say this was on everyone's mind! I have come to believe that everyone questions their own parenting skills and we were definitely one of them. There were so many questions but we were provided with new ways to parent as well as many resources on communicating with your children. We talked about everything from parenting styles and disciple to different ways to talk to your children about difficult subjects.  We even talked about how to do family meetings and goals!

Overall, this training was not long enough! Everyone had so many questions and there was just not enough time. We had a lot of fun and told a lot of jokes. Our counselor made the training interesting and helped us nurture a positive environment to help our marriage grow. Kind of like a booster shot to keep us healthy...without the needles...or the flu like side-effects...

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