Thursday, February 10, 2011

Straight From the Heart

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
(Proverbs 16:23)

Imagine that for one week your conversations with others were secretly recorded in high-definition video; then, later, you were led into a viewing room with surround sound where you were forced to bear witness to yourself. At the end of the day, how would you feel? Relaxed and understood? Impressed with your stellar communication skills? Troubled by the way you come across? Embarrassed? Ashamed? Misunderstood?

Your words are a very good indication
of what is going on in your heart.
~Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

An interesting point to ponder, I think, as we make our way through the day-to-day world of relationships where communication is everything. For there’s no doubt that the way we communicate opens a window to our soul for all to see, an idea reinforced in his book “Love and Respect for a Lifetime,” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

The good news is that we're not stuck! Unlike our height or the color of our eyes, we can make conscious and gradual changes in the way that we relate to each other and up our happiness quotient in the process. Whether we find ourselves in constant conflict with others wondering why we’re so misunderstood or we simply want to sharpen our skills, with a commitment to clear communication, peaceful resolution of conflict, and a few simple tricks of the trade, we can transform the way we express ourselves.

In his companion guide for couples, Dr. Eggerichs takes a closer look at what it means to “love and respect” and the deeper yearnings of the heart. He says:

Men and women both need love
and both need respect.
But the cry from a woman’s deepest soul
is to be loved
and the cry from a man’s deepest soul
is to be respected.

From there he distinguishes the crucial differences between men and women and the way we love and communicate with each other. Perhaps “love your wife” and “respect your husband” makes you bristle with inequality. I admit to a bit of bristling myself as I read these words. In fact, that verse in the Bible (Ephesians 5:33) always felt to me like it was written by men for the benefit of men. But getting behind the words and understanding the deeper meaning of what “respect” looks and feels like to a man and what makes a woman feel “love” is a necessary step in getting the love we want.

No matter what your struggle—
criticism, constant conflict, sex, money, parenting, harsh words—
learning to communicate the Love and Respect way
can help you make crucial changes…
~Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Love and Respect for a Lifetime” is a quick read and makes for a thought-provoking bedside or coffee-table guide for reflection. Blending related scripture with everyday tips for heart-felt communication, it is a gentle yet effective reminder to be mindful of how we express our truth, with suggestions for making our relationships better.

And while this book was borne from Dr. Eggerichs’ work as a pastor and couples counselor as an inspirational guide for improving and sustaining marriage relationships, I suggest that there is wisdom within its pages for us all; for understanding what motivates others is an important tool in reaching across the table and communicating with anyone—friends, colleagues and lovers alike.

And for my loyal readers a special Valentine’s Day treat—I am giving away a copy of Dr. Eggerichs’ new book. Simply post a comment to this blog entry with your favorite tip or technique for heart-centered communication (or send me an e-mail at and have your name entered in the drawing for a chance to win! (Please make sure I have contact information for you in case you’re the winner.) The drawing will take place on Monday, February 14, 2011.

As we celebrate this month of love, I wish you all clear communiqués, heart-centered connections and peaceful relations.


Sarah said...

I think one of the best things I've heard lately about keeping relationships healthy is not to keep "silent contracts." Hoping someone will do something in a certain way or worse, wanting a mind reader. You can't expect someone to meet your expectations if they don't know what they are!

Jenna J said...

Good reminder to be thoughtful in our communication. It's a kind way to live. And it takes practice. And can definetly be a beautiful skill. You know what though? Some of the best communicators are manipulators. Keep it genuine, is what I say! xox

Dani said...

One of the most powerful things I've heard is by Wayne Dyer when he says, "Don't look for reasons to be offended." If we can carry that with us in our communications, maybe we would assume the best behind the words of others rather than assumig the worst.

Margaret W said...

Hello Melissa!!!   I always enjoy your writing and this is no exception. 
Our (Roggie and I) favorite tip or technique for heart-centered communication is this:  Never take yourself too seriously.   Laugh A LOT!   Don’t sweat the small stuff.   This July we will be celebrating the BIG 20!!!!!   He STILL makes me laugh every day.   God has surely blessed me and I am very aware of it and thankful.
Hoping all is well with you –
Big hugs,