Our Foundation, the Healthy Families Foundation, is currently leading an 18-day Family Building Campaign in the village of Serowe.
This is a free resource meant to strengthen relationships all over SADC for the five countries I write this article for each week. Now, that is the background. I want to switch to where I am coming from right now. I am coming from the police. Since they know we are in town to teach about healthy family relations, they called me to ask me to help with a GBV case. Sadly, these are all too common these days. Here is what was interesting. So far, we are on day two of our campaign here and the first two chapters in the book deal with Unmet Expectations and Communication. Some people say “What does that have to do with domestic abuse?” Everything.
These fights are caused by unmet expectations. One of the people expects something from the other. Many times communication techniques are not taught so they don’t communicate clearly what they expect and the other person is left to read brain cells. When the other person doesn’t meet those expectations - whether it be to show affection in public, call everyday, be open about finances, not to cheat, come home directly from work - whatever it is - there is anger when that expectation isn’t met. I began to teach from the first two chapters in the book. Things were going well and I hope, by the grace of God, I was able to offer some practical tips.
However, there was a bigger issue at play and this is what I want to focus on more today. It is an issue of a simple Biblical principle. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The mouth will speak what you think about. Your will acts according to what you think. It sounds so obvious. Yet, we try and “fix” GBV by saying to stop hitting.
Until you get RID of the anger in the heart, you will NOT solve GBV by simply talking about it. How do you get rid of anger? It is a complicated issue, which we don’t have time to address comprehensively but there are a few basic things to help. Number one - talk about issues when they are still small issues. Most anger that erupts into violence doesn’t start with one fight. It is a culmination of many small things that eventually build up to an explosion of uncontrollable emotions.
My book has chapters with countless examples of how to communicate more effectively, so let me not go into more details there. What I want to talk about is what I spoke to my new friends today about - the heart. When you are thinking negative thoughts and you don’t feel good about yourself - then it is natural that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. I challenged them to read some specific scriptures such as Psalms 139, Psalms 119, Philippians 4, Matthew 6. My encouragement was to spend time filling your mind with that which is positive and good. Otherwise, you will spend your time analysing what your partner is doing or not doing and start boiling inside. The longer you think negatively, the more likely you are to act negatively. With that, let me encourage you - be mindful of your thoughts. Try to be aware of when you are thinking negative thoughts about your spouse and make an effort to instead think positive thoughts about your partner and focus your attention on God and helping others. As you start loving God and others, you will naturally not be as stressed about every little thing your partner does wrong.
When your life has a purpose of helping others, you will not be as needy and selfish. Let’s start thinking every day how we can be a blessing to others. Believe me - it is you who will be blessed if you have that mindset!
Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, family building facilitator, author and Producer of the hit TV show, Talking with the Thabas, which has strengthened thousands of marriages and helped countless families become stronger. Learn more about her work at www.ashleythaba.com or view her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books: Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants on her website. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Facebook: Talking with the Thabas.