(First published on May 22, 2009)
Communication is the foundation of all marriage relationships – the key is establishing a good and strong foundation that will support your relationship through all difficulties.
Those who lack good communication skills find their days are full of bumps and bruises. Use the following Ten Commandments to help strengthen your ability to communicate well.
- Learn to express your feelings and frustrations honestly, but without accusing or attacking the other person. (Pro. 11:9)
- Choose words, expressions and a tone of voice that are kind and gentle. Don’t use speech that could easily offend or spark and argument. (Pro. 15:1)
- Do not exaggerate, distort, or stretch the truth. Avoid extreme words like “never” and “always”. (Eph. 4:25)
- Give actual and specific examples — if necessary, make notes before you communicate. Stay away from generalities.
- Commit yourself to seeking solutions rather than merely airing your grievances. Getting even isn’t the goal — you want to get things resolved. (Rom. 12:17-21)
- Listen to what the other person is saying, feeling and needing. Try to detect his or her underlying concerns (James 1:19)
- Refuse to indulge bitterness, anger, withdrawal, or argument. Though these emotions are normal, indulging them is sin. (Eph. 4:26)
- Be quick to acknowledge your own failure, and don’t hesitate to forgive the other person. Make sure you don’t still hold a grudge. (Luke 17:3-4)
- Keep talking and asking questions until you are sure you both understand clearly what the other is saying and feeling. Encourage each other as you press toward a solution. (Rom. 14:19)
- Train your mouth and heart until you can say the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason!
Date Night Idea: Take a few minutes to plan a date that would create a good context for communication. Renting a video is out! Be specific. Where would you go? What would you do? How much will it cost? Write down the details, then set a time when you can carry it out.
(taken from Love That Lasts, first edition, pg. 46)