Here’s What Happens When You Name The Important

A couple weeks back Zerrin and I were in Oshkosh, Wisconsin teaching PLEDGEtalk at Lifest. As I began, I told everyone that what they were about to hear wouldn’t be new. In fact once they heard the PLEDGEtalk principles for healthy communication, they would immediately recognize that what I was saying was true.

Truths we all know:

  • It is good to take a moment to consider what we are about to say before we say it. We hope others would do the same for us! (PAUSE)
  • When we talk about anything important, we want others to really listen. (LISTEN)
  • We also want others to really consider what it is we are saying – perhaps even reflect back what they hear us saying so we know for sure they heard us. (ECHO)
  • It helps a lot when someone validates what we say–to let us know they at least understand and don’t think we are crazy for feeling the way we do! (DISARM/VALIDATE)
  • Because of common sense, we also know the importance of giving each other a turn in the conversation. Interrupting each other isn’t helpful. We both can’t talk at the same time! (GIVE)
  • Finally, we know that it would be good to practice using each of the above principles all the time, not just whenever we feel like it–because we may never feel like it! (ENGAGE)

But there’s a problem with this.

Even though we know the principles to be true we rarely use them.


Some days we just don’t care or we think we are too busy to take the time. Other times our emotions are so high that the thinking part of our brain doesn’t work. We don’t even recall or think about why should do.

But there’s another reason – it has to do with naming.

When you name something it brings clarity, direction, and empowers you to use it.

Think of an area of life in which you received some coaching. When I was in college I took a golf class.

I can’t remember for sure, but before I took the class, I don’t think I had ever been on a golf course, so I had very little knowledge about the sport. It wasn’t too long however, before I was out on the green enjoying the game.

Each time I stepped up to the ball, I went through a list of specific tips I had learned from class on how to stand, swing, and follow through.

Because I had been trained in specifics, they were in the forefront of my mind every time I swung!

Our teacher had named each step we would need to become a good golfer. I had clarity and direction on what I needed to do. I was empowered to hit the ball straight and far.

When it comes to communication and conflict resolving, we know in the back of our heads at least some of what works. BUT–because so very few of us have ever had any formal training or modeling in what makes for good communication, the principles remain in the back of our heads where they lie dormant.

We must NAME the principles of healthy communication and NAME the process we can use to work through conflict.

When we do, it will provide clarity and direction, and empower people to use the principles to better their relationships in marriage and family, in friendships, and in the workplace.

That is why we share with everyone the simple power of PLEDGEtalk.

When we learn the principles well, they will move from the back of our heads to the front, enabling us to use them each day so that we might improve each of our relationships.

My challenge for you:

If you haven’t seen the video series we recently released on the PLEDGEtalk principles, go HERE. In these videos I name what needs to happen to make good conversation and to work through conflict. We are offering the videos for FREE, for a limited time.

And don’t forget to stay in touch with us by liking our new PLEDGEtalk Facebook page HERE. I will be posting helpful tips and videos on PLEDGEtalk as well as sharing real life experiences with Zerrin and I. Hope to see you there!

Like our PLEDGEtalk Facebook page HERE!

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Big Announcement!

Today we are launching PLEDGEtalk, a how-to for when communication really matters!

For the past 6 years, Zerrin and I have been teaching the Madly In Love Marriage Conference. Through learning PLEDGE, couples have learned how to communicate well and process conflict in a way that brings them back to love.

During our conferences we have been asked many times: can we use this with our kids? Can I use PLEDGE in my work place? Will this work between my friend and I?

With great excitement, we declared YES! It will in fact work in all relationships!

Beyond the questions, we began hearing stories of people who were using PLEDGE as a family, or teaching children in their classroom, or using it with their team at work. A mom shared how her kids are learning to talk through their conflict at the early age of 8 and 6! A politician spoke of how he is using it with his constituents. Teen-agers replied to their parents, saying: “does this mean we don’t have to yell and fight anymore as a family?” A man told us how it had made a significant difference in conference meetings at work.

With great anticipation, we began to see a larger impact to be had in teaching the concepts of PLEDGE.

After much discussion, reflection, and prayer, PLEDGEtalk was birthed!

It is our mission to teach people in all walks of life how to communicate well when it really matters.

Whether in normal conversation or tense situations, there is a way–a right way–to communicate. It deepens and heals relationships. That’s PLEDGEtalk.

We will continue to teach this to couples and seek to be a blessing to marriages.

But now we can share PLEDGEtalk with marriages AND families.

In a church, we can speak to entire congregations! We can also go into the workplace where we will teach and train teams how to better their relationships with PLEDGEtalk and be more productive.

Thank you for your interest in learning how to love well in the way you communicate and resolve conflicts!

Mark Oelze

Author:  The PLEDGE Of A Lifetime

Creator of PLEDGEtalk