Hello everyone and welcome to episode 13, Relationship Skills – Level 3. If you are a first time listener, please know that this podcast is all about relationships and transforming them into the best they can be. We started a series on the four levels of relationship skill a few weeks ago. And today we’re focusing on level three. I’ll have links to the previous tywo episodes in this series at the bottom of the show notes.

In the two prior episodes we talked about our varying stages of awareness of our lack of relational skills.

This episode answers the question, “now that I know my relationship skills need some improvement, what can I do about it? How do I get better in relating to others?” Stay tuned, because that’s what we’re going to be consider today.

But first, let me quickly run through the four levels of relationship skills, then we’ll come back and spend the rest of our time on level three.

Unconsciously unskilled (U.U.) This first level is when we don’t have a clue as to how unskilled we are when it comes to relationships.

Consciously unskilled (C.U.) In this stage we’re making mistakes in our relationships with people, and we know it. But we don’t know what to do about it.

Consciously skilled (C.S.) Level  three is when we’re pretty self-aware of the relational skills we need, and we work on developing them. Much more on this in just a moment.

Unconsciously skilled (U.S.) And finally in level four we’re good at relating well with people, and aren’t even aware of it. We’re not even trying; it’s just part of who we are. It’s even hard to explain the skills we are using in relating with others. We’ll talk about this next week in episode 14.

Consciously Skilled (C.S.)

Back now to consciously skilled, level three. There is so much we could consider and talk about when it comes to specific and particular relational skills that would be helpful for us to master. We’ll doing a considerable amount of that in later episodes in You Were Made for This. For now, though, I want to paint with broad strokes a framework and process by which to acquire important relational skills. I’ve given this a lot of thought and reflection on how we learn new skills, and when it comes to relationship skills, in its essence, it comes down to mastering just one key concept. And that is to


Listen in to three different sources

Listen to Self

  • What are my healthy and unhealthy patterns in how I relate to people? What are the patterns I should keep and nurture? What are those I should discard?
  • For signs of my self-centeredness and pride in the way I relate to people?
  • Ask our self, How am I bringing out the best in people, and how are they bringing out the best in me?
  • Evaluate how much of a giver I am, and how much of a taker am I in my relationships?
  • To what extent am I reflecting the image of God in my relationships
  • What specific relationship skills am I lacking?

Listen to Others

  • We develop relational skills in community. It’s not something you can do alone.
  • Put a lid on your own stuff for a time so you can observe others
  • What is my level of “holy curiosity” about people? Ask your self, “From what I know of the other person in my relationship, what might life be like for them?
  • What might be their joys and challenges?
  • What are the emotions that seem they are likely feeling?
  • What could they be afraid of right now?

Illustration: Field trips to the airport and zoo with my creative writing class

Who can teach me what I need to know? By their example and what they model (Vern Grambush, mentioned in episode four, The Gift of Even Though, and Miss Baumert). By what they have written or produced in books, films, music, and even podcasts.

Seeing a counselor or therapist can be very helpful in this regard.

This podcast is a tool that whelps you learn the specific skills that will enhance your relationships

Above all, Listen to God

  • In what we read in the Bible
  • To what he prescribes (Husbands, love your wives)
  • To what he describes ( I Samuel and Elkanah)
  • In how we pray about our relationships. Listen to God when we pray to be more loving, when we don’t know what to do about a relational problem.
  • When we’re at our wit’s end about a difficulty with someone.
  • In how He uses other people to speak his truth into our life

Illustration: When I was with MR, Janet telling me I wasn’t spending enough time with the kids

When we make the effort to listen like this, to ourselves, to others, and to God, our relationship skills will increase. This process of listening is the broad framework under which we can acquire and enhance the concrete and specific skills we need to transform our relationships into the best they can be.

Before I close, here’s the he main take-away from today’s episode, our show in a sentence

When we listen well to our self, to others, and especially to God, our relationships will be deeper and more fulfilling.

Here’s a way you can respond to today’s show:

Be intentional about setting aside time to reflect and listen to ourselves, others, and to what God is teaching us about our relationships. Please let me know how this is working for you by living a response in the comment box at the end of the show notes.

Coming up next week

I’ll be sharing some of the listener response we’ve getting. We’ll also finish this series by examining the last relationship skill – Level four- Unconsciously Skilled

Quote of the Week

How can we know who we are and where we are going if we don't know anything about where we have come from and what we have been through, the courage shown, the costs paid, to be where we are?            ~ David McCullough


Thanks again for listening in. I hope you are finding this podcast helpful. If you write a review in iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts, it will help us reach more people so they too can transform their relationships into the best they can be.

That’s all for now; have a great week, and we’ll connect again next time.

Resources mentioned in today’s show

Relationship Skills – Level One

Relationship Skills – Level Two

Listening to and learning from my friend Vern