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When my husband and I came back together you can imagine there were some adjustments to be made. After all, the children were used to dealing with two different homes with two different sets of rules. And the fact that we were apart for more than two years, it would take some time to get back into our own roles.
Life was wonderful for the first couple months, but then old habits started creeping in. We decided the best thing to do was to seek help from our Preacher. I am bringing all this up because what we learned at our meeting was very helpful.
So on to the 4 rules of communication
# 1 Be Honest:
God’s Words tells us to put away lying and to speak truth and not only to speak truth but to speak it in love! Ephesians 4:15 says, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” We are to speak with the right spirit, the spirit of love, not mean or with a harsh spirit. When we are speaking to another person, whether it is your spouse, child, or friend, we need to listen to ourselves, not just the words, but the tone and level of volume and ask ourselves, “Would we hear Jesus speaking this way?”
Speaking truth also includes not hiding problems. If there is something wrong and your spouse asks you what’s wrong, you can’t say nothing or give him/her the silent treatment. You can’t be honest without speaking.
Now I know that right away is NOT always the opportune time to discuss the issue at hand. But a kind “I need a little time to myself right now” would help a whole lot more than going in both barrels loaded or just being silent.
#2 Keep Current:
Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” God’s Word tells us that we are not to be angry overnight. If we hold onto our anger we give Satan an opportunity to divide us. Not dealing with anger produces resentment, hatred, and bitterness. This is exactly what the devil wants!
Each day’s problems need to be dealt with that day. Matthew 6:34 says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Sometimes issues might arise late in the evening and if you see that you aren’t going to come to a mutual agreement you should call a truce. No kidding! Don’t go to bed mad, but realize that some sleep might actually help the situation. Then you can approach the issue rested and maybe with a more clear head.
#3 Attack the Problem, Not the Person:
God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Attacking the person involves using hurtful, cutting words and attacking their character or “putting them down”. This is the opposite of what God instructs us to do. Attacking the problem means to talk about what the person has said or done. The goal is to solve the problem. I’ve also come to realize that starting sentences with “I” rather than “you” also help prevent blaming and attacking the other person.
#4 Act! Don’t React!:
God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 4:31-32. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” In these verses we see what Preacher calls the “hurtful six“:
- Bitterness – anger, resentment
- Wrath – extreme anger
- Anger – hostility
- Clamour – shout loudly and insistently
- Evil Speaking – slander, detraction, speak injuriously
- Malice – Intention to do evil
To react is to respond to disagreeable things done to us with anger, bitterness, or resentment. Arguments occur when someone reacts.
And the “helpful three“:
- Kind – loving
- Tenderhearted – gentle
- Forgiving – graciously to restore one to another
Jeremiah 31:34 says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” We must act in love, kindness, and forgiveness. To forgive means we won’t bring it up again to the other person involved, yourself, others, or even God.
These experiences are lessons to learn from not something to draw on. And no matter how irresponsible the other person is, we must act biblically!
I hope you find this helpful and encouraging.