You will also reply to the threads of 3 replies (200–250 words each). When addressing each specific topic, integrate relevant ideas from the various course texts and materials. In your replies, extend the discussion by analyzing and building upon your classmates’ ideas. Threads and replies must demonstrate course-related knowledge and assertions be supported by references in current APA format. Use first person and single-spaced formatting and indent new paragraphs. Your threads and replies must be well written, well organized, and focused.
Bag of Mellows
In the movie Fireproof (2008) the main married couples, Caleb and Catherine, struggle to overcome their differences in their relationship with healthy communication. Much of their communication is from a defensiveness perspective. Much of their conversation involved bickering, arguing and trying to proof their opinion is the correct point of view. For example, in the middle of an argument about Caleb’s laundry, Catherine was trying to explain why he shouldn’t and eventually leaving which shows how he deals with conflict and unhealthy communication.
Even there was a time when Caleb showed up home and couldn’t find anything for dinner, the couple continued to yell and point fingers at who is wrong. This type of defensiveness communication pattern is called defensiveness and denial of responsibility tends to create more damage to their marriage. The couple involved in what Stewart would describe as a ” degenerative spiral.” In a degenerative spiral misunderstanding and discord create more and more relationship damage (Stewart, 2012).
When this first movie came out, my wife and I were newly married. I remember talking about this communication misunderstanding and where in my marriage did we have potential degenerative spiral. This led to years of really being open in our communication, even if it was uncomfortable, and seeking opportunities to get help to continue to grow in our communication. For example, again in our early marriage, we had this grand idea to back pack across the Appalachian Mountains. Slowly did we learn how small frustrations, being tired and hungry can effect our communication.
One night at the camp site, we fought about who left the bag of food open. It was definitely a moment that we talk about and remember that to avoid a degenerative spiral, we need to talk about it before it gets to the point of an open bag of marshmallows.
Stewart, J. R. (2012). Bridges, not walls: a book about interpersonal communication (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Firm). (2009). Fireproof.
I recently watched the movie “Fireproof”. I found it to be relatable, almost in its entirety. Like Caleb, I wore a uniform every day, worked diligently, made professional sacrifices in the name of being a provider, my father was a Christian influence in my life and I also had one or two people in my life that tried to mentor me in being a man of God for the family. Some tension that I dealt with during the movie was trying to watch from a student’s perspective, seeing it from a divorcee and as a remarried spouse.
The first thing that resonated with me was the lack of communication and bad communication. Sometime after the wedding, in making their home and building their careers, Caleb and Catherine lost sight of their marriage. As time progressed, we can infer that their identities continued to mature separately with the understanding that, “identities are fluid, not static” (Stewart, 2012, p. 75). The conversations they would invest in with peers and leaders were speaking life into their careers and thus their careers would flourish. So, while they were conversing and building relationships at work, in the spirit of, “the conversation is the relationship” (Stewart, 2012, p. 56). Caleb and Catherine stopped having healthy conversations and their relationship atrophied. The takeaway for me was that even though married couples might get caught up doing life; working to pay the bills, filling the refrigerator, attending to the children and the like, couples need to make time to have conversations. Furthermore, in my second marriage, I should coordinate conversations where we can dream, resolve conflicts, and discuss current personal events.
Then, as Caleb has a change of heart about his marriage, he starts to take steps to save it, he followed his father’s advice and chose to exercise Technique – 23, Persistent and Bullfighters (Petersen, 2015, p. 182). Throughout most of the movie, Caleb experienced rejection after rejection, exercising the kind of empathy described as the, “grace of God” (Petersen, 2015, p. 249) in the flesh. With each rejection his discouragement and frustration grew, and each time John, his father and Michael, his coworker tried to point him to God. Then one day, Caleb accepts defeat at the presentation of divorce papers and in his final selfless act, he quietly gives his boat savings to pay for his mother-in-law’s medical expenses. This act of love was the final act that broke down the emotional walls of Catherine and they end up reconciling at Caleb’s Fire Station. From this, I observed a man of God put down his pride and look at his wife and marriage through the eyes of Jesus; where Jesus loved us and still suffered rejection to the point of physical death. Furthermore, I observed that even in the darkest of events, if we walk in God’s love, He will act on the prayers of the righteous.
The movie ends with two acts of self-disclosure, after Caleb and Catherine reconcile, that reveal a second perspective of both John and Michael. “You only disclose when it is appropriate to do so.” (Stewart, 2012, p. 214) In one conversation Michael discloses that he was previously married. In another conversation, John discloses that he was the spouse that wanted to leave. I think Michael and John waited to share their experiences because sharing the experience of divorce or wanting divorce might have given Caleb the ammunition to walk away from his marriage. Finally, from this part of Fireproof, I gleaned that as Christian counselors, we have to be cautious about sharing some experiences and to offer enough information that points the person to God.
Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges Not Walls: A Book about Interpersonal Communication (11th ed.):
Petersen, J. (2015). Why Don’t We Listen Better?: Communicating & Connecting in
Relationships: Petersen Publications.