Monday, 16 February 2009

The Marriage Course, Part 2

Last week Esther and I embarked on the seven week Marriage Course based on DVDs and materials from the Holy Trinity Brompton stable which we are running at our Church in Shrewsbury.

Week two: The art of communication.

First things first and the food was good, a homemade lasagne followed by plum pudding: yum! The DVD presentation was useful and interesting. Resources that come out of HTB come from a slightly different geographic and in many ways demographic environment to us. So suggestions like "hold a handkerchief when it is your turn to talk" sound a little odd to this shropshire lad, but the point "shut up while she's talking" is well made!

That is not meant as a criticism, because what I love about the HTB guys is that they are being true to themselves and doing things their way for the people they are trying to reach. It just needs a bit of filtering.

It certainly helped us lift the lid on ways to communicate and things we do or don't do that can be improved. For me that is the great strength of the course, that it gives permission to discuss things and make a plan of action.

It made me really consider the difference between hearing stuff and listening, and the value of undivided attention rather than listening as we do something else. I can hear stuff but not listen, and that it what makes communication an art. Actually repeating what you think the other person is saying was an interesting exercise, and then asking them what is the most important aspect, not pre-judging what the real issue is.

All in all a good evening. I am gaining confidence in the resources as it makes the whole concept very accessible to a wide range of people.

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