Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Great Communication: The Importance of Timing

Farmers think about it. So do climbers. Even surgeons know it's important. You can't plant corn in the fall in the Midwest. You don't head for the summit in the late afternoon in the Rockies. And doctors make sure their patients are physically stable before they allow them to be operated on.

In other words they all know the importance of timing. Families need to also understand that timing can make all the difference in the success and effectiveness of their communication with each other. While yes there are times when the urgency of the moment requires immediate action most of the time that's not the case.

So when husbands and wives need to tackle tough questions they would be better to agree to a more acceptable and workable time to solve their problems. And yet many couples dump their biggest concerns on the other person at the most inappropriate times. One of them has just come in the door from a business trip, another has been home all day with demanding kids or they are on their way to church with the kids in the back seat.

None of those times will likely work to handle a major (or even minor) crisis. Parents can exhibit the same time mismanagement in dealing with discipline issues.

So how can we do better at timing at our house?

First, know your spouse or kids better and maximize their best times to talk and respond. Yes, we can use timing to simply not deal with painful realities but that's not what I'm talking about here. Sometimes you need to simply figure out a better time to dig deeper and agree that the tension of the moment can wait.

Second, curb your penchant to always have answers right now. Most problems didn't happen in an hour so they probably don't need to be resolved in an hour either.

Third, remember how helpful it is when others talk to you in your best moments, not your worst. I know that after a long day of meetings and counseling I'm often not ready to talk seriously the moment I come home. I need to think about my wife's similar needs and give her the same courtesy.

While timing isn't the only thing that makes for deep communication, it sure is a main thing. Think about timing a bit more the next time you have serious issues to talk about at home. I'm pretty sure it will make a significant difference.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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