When I first started writing back in the ’60’s, we moved to Belfast Northern Ireland to help establish a church work in the Shankhill Road District. Belfast is the capitol of Northern Ireland and has a half million residents. While living there I had numerous opportunities to speak in England, Scotland and the Continent. I remember one in particular in Castlemilk, Scotland. I was staying in a home in a near by town and had nothing to do all day long for a week.
With a borrowed typewriter I began to write. The theme I was pecking away was in personal communications. My fingers could not fly fast enough. Page after page was completed and then I would speak every night. The Scots are a marvelous people. To the contrary, they are not mean (meaning cheap) but super generous, not only with encouraging words but always with tea and scones.
As the words came and the pages flew I just had the feeling, “Boy, you are a genius. Who else could just sit down and pour out 80 pages during one week, finishing up with my speaking engagements.”
When I returned to our home in Belfast, various problems and opportunities were waiting. My schedule was heavy. I stuffed the 80 pages in a drawer. Six months later I returned to review and finish the wonderful task of writing a book on successful interactions.
I began to reread the words that were written in Scotland. My genius faded at first and fell apart at last. The marvel of writing ended up a pitiful effort a pile of junk. It was terrible but I learned a great lesson from the experience. One, your not a genius, in fact you’re just a beginner. Writing is an art and the theory is, the more you write the better you get. Here are some of the ideas that I was writing then and now hope to condense and refine.
THE MARVEL OF SIMPLE COMMUNICATION!. What if you and your husband bought two note books? The kind that are sown and pages cannot be torn out. Then, once a week you would meet together for a special hour. No T.V., no radio, no telephone, no computer games, no kids, no noise and no distractions. At the beginning of the first 30 minute period you would agree to write one full page in ink, on a chosen subject. Any topic will do. It can be something serious or incidental. Example; where do you want to go for vacation, or what do you like or dislike about your work? How about five things you love about each other, or what about five things you would change in each other’s life? Write to each other, putting words on paper that may be difficult to speak. Sometimes, what’s in your heart, when spoken, may turn into divisions and arguments. When you are alone and write there is no one there but you. Put your thoughts and feelings down on paper just as they are. Don’t read what you write. Time is important. No ripping pages, no skipping, or joking, or pretending. Just the straight ‘skinny’, how you really feel. Always begin and end by writing about your love and care for each other. Have fun writing. The things that cannot be said easily, can be written plainly. When the bell goes off, finish that sentence, and sign your name with the simple words “I love you.”
The second half hour begins by meeting together and exchanging books. Read what your ‘beloved’ has written three times. One for the mind, one for the heart and one to grow on. Just relax and read. This invites your spouse to enter the secret chamber of your heart.
Now is the time for talk, to look into each others heart. That’s what talking is for. These are love letters, the kind you used to write. This simple method will bring a deeper bonding that has been lost in time. The lasting effect is that you are purging your heart by putting your thoughts into words. No longer will any subject be trapped inside as unspeakable. Be honest – transparently honest – painfully honest, Remember, this is a weekly exercise that will grow and build as you go along.
Just think what would happen by the end of the year. Fifty two pages of words spoken with the pen. Two hearts, while you don’t agree about everything, you will know exactly how your partner feels. Just write the precious material you have long to say and find the joy in reading the heart of the other – WOW! What a blessing.
Is this what Paul was saying when he wrote, “Submitting yourselves one to the other in the fear of God. . . husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. . . so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife, loves himself ” (Ephesians 5:21-32).
It is just a simple plan: COMMUNICATIONS: THE ART OF LIVING.
But it allows you the perfect freedom to express your inner thoughts in a loving way that before have be unspoken. To read each others mind in such a unique and wonderful way can only lead to free and full discussion in spoken words.
Don’t just think about it – do it, and see how this mean to interact will be the beginning of more and more dialogue.
Communicate – that’s the real art of living.