Connecting, Committing, and Communicating; Student-Doctors and Spouses Learn How to Improve Relationships
The LUCOM-Student Advocate Association (SAA) hosted a medical marriage seminar for married and engaged student-doctors and their spouses on Sept. 29, where they heard from guest speakers Cindy and Scott Phillips on the importance of communication in a relationship. Married for over 35 years, the Philips are both trained in, premarital and marriage counseling, offering services at Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Scott and Cindy Phillips described the past 35 years of their marriage and how the first 16 years were difficult for them. “We were the functioning, dysfunctional family,” said Mrs. Phillips. “I was very controlling and when I couldn’t control things, I became a fireball of rage.” She described to the student-doctors and their spouses how her childhood had influenced and affected her ability to trust others and how it had instilled a fear of abandonment within her. She later overcame that fear when she came to terms with God about the burdens she carried. “We must first understand our significance in Christ because our life hasn’t been perfect, our marriage hasn’t been perfect, we haven’t mastered it and we won’t be perfect till our caskets are closed and we enter Heaven,” she said.
The Phillips then described different areas that can cause conflict in a relationship. The most significant area was communication. The couple then performed a segment called “he said, she heard” and demonstrated that it’s often not what is said but how it’s said. “A lot of times what I say isn’t wrong, but how I say it,” said Mrs. Phillips. “It’s not what you say, it’s what they understand.” The Phillips described the different levels of communication which includes; superficial, sharing facts, ideas, sharing feelings, and being transparent (hopes, dreams, fears).
The couple discussed how self-talk is the most important conversation an individual will ever have. “Your belief system will influence your self-talk,” said Mrs. Phillips. “We believe these messages no matter how irrational they are, they’re learned at home, and tend to be more negative than positive.” The couple discussed how an individual’s belief system will shape and influence their self-talk. “Communication is a vital part of God’s design,” she said. The couple then read James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
“I think that events such as this allows student-doctors and their families to come together and improve their well-being, not just as students, but as husbands, wives, parents, and families,” said Marcus Shortes, OMS-II, Class of 2019. “This seminar gave us an opportunity to focus on the most important thing in our lives: our marriage and our relationship to God. It puts things into perspective to be able to find time to improve the family unit and it gives us an opportunity to learn to be effective in the time and communication that couples have”.
Thinking and feeling are both elements of effective communication and the goal of communication in a relationship should be to find an in-between balance. “Love is not just an emotion, it’s an action,” said Mr. Phillips. “And you have to put effort into that action.” He then went in depth in Scripture on how Satan’s lies can often distort and distract individuals from God’s truth and that individuals can go from bondage to obedience to freedom in their personal lives and then in a relationship. “Before the two become one, the two must become whole and then they can come together,” he said.
The Philips have been married for over 35 years with a family of three children and 13 grandchildren. The couple serves at TRBC where they both conduct premarital and marriage assessment classes, and also do pre-marriage counseling.
Couples that have questions, concerns, or are interested in counseling can contact Scott and Cindy Phillips via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.