The Sweet Christian Bride

Guest Post from Reverend Danny Hall: How the Apple Falls

by admin on March 6, 2012 in Communication, Pre-Marital Counseling with No Comments

Please enjoy Guest Post #2 from Rev. Danny Hall.  If you missed the introductory post, you can check it out here.


How the Apple Falls

It was a beautiful day, and I was enjoying being out with my wife, my son Chris, and my daughter-in-law Lindsay. As we walked along, something came across my radar, and I reflexively made a sarcastic joke about it.  Lindsay stopped in her tracks and said, “Now I get it.” A quick-witted, sarcastic humor was one of those things I had passed on to my son. This was part of our regular banter, and the apple had not fallen far from the tree.

The problem was Lindsay did not grow up in a family where sarcasm was a part of the regular banter and, well, frankly it was hard for her to understand. For us it was natural. While she saw this as at best juvenile and at worst something cutting and hurtful, we saw it as something normal, good-natured, and often insightful as to what we were thinking and feeling. When those words came out of my mouth, she recognized that Chris’ propensity for sarcastic humor was part of what he brought into their relationship from his family, or more accurately, from me, his dad.

Communication is perhaps the single most important skill you as a couple will need to develop in order to build a solid marriage. Whatever the issue you are dealing with, from simple daily decisions like if and where you are going out to dinner to serious issues like finances, the pressures of your job, or perhaps most importantly, resolving conflicts, you need to know how to talk to each other.  As this little personal story illustrates, however, developing this skill is challenging because the patterns and styles of communication are forged in families that usually are very different from each other.

Dealing with the complexities of good communication is beyond the scope of a simple post like this. What I do want to convey is the seriousness of this matter and the realization of the differences you likely bring into your relationship. I encourage you to make working on this skill a central part of your pre-marital counseling. In order to help you grow in this area, I would like to suggest a little homework. While this might be challenging, give it a try.

Take some time to consider how your family communicated with each other. What were the strengths and weaknesses of this? How do you think this has affected the way you communicate now?  Share with each other your thoughts. Like in the last exercise, you should just listen to each other and only ask questions in order to clarify.

As a bonus exercise, pick any subject or decision that you are facing as a couple and set a time to talk about it.  After each person shares a thought or perspective, the other should then repeat it back to them by saying, “This is what I hear you saying….” Take turns doing this and see if you are able to grow in your ability to understand each other.  When you are done, talk about what you have learned.  Warning: the more difficult or personal the issue, the more difficult it will be to do this well.  You can always table it for a pre-marital counseling session.

– Rev. Danny Hall

Serving as a missionary and pastor for 35 years, Danny Hall has had many opportunities to provide counseling for brides and grooms. A native of Atlanta, Danny has been married to his wife Ginger for 37 years. They have one son, Chris, and a daughter-in-law, Lindsay. He is currently Sr. Pastor at Valley Community Church in Pleasanton, California. He loves to read, ski, and support his beloved Atlanta Braves.

By Lindsay

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