Communication Guidelines

Posted on · Posted in Communication

Communication is part of everyday life. Perhaps nothing else brings such a combination of joy and frustration than the way we communicate with each other. Here are some biblical guidelines to make your commutation more productive and effective.

Check your Heart Attitude: Consider others more important than yourself. Philippians 2:3-5

Let love be in control: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts. From 1 Cor. 13:4-7

This passage is not a test to apply to your spouse as a defense, but a reality check for your own heart.

Be an Epic Listener: Don’t answer with your words or thoughts before you have listened completely. Proverbs 18:13

Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Work faithfully at being an expert, caring, and wise listener. Proverbs 18:15

Don’t act as if or assume something is true without carefully verifying it first. Proverbs 18:17

Speak only what is helpful: Soft answers turn back anger. Anger is never helpful in marriage communication. Proverbs 15:1; James 1:19-20

Pleasant words bring healing. Proverbs 16:20-24

Words that do not build up, encourage and benefit the hearer are rotten words. Ephesians 4:29

Truth is never a reason to avoid love when communicating. Ephesians 4:15

Communications test

To see if you are communicating well, say something like this in a calm and loving tone:

“This is what I understood from what you just said. Is that what you meant or did I misunderstand?”

Stay with it until you hear, “Yes, that is exactly what I meant.”

This requires sacrificial love. It lets the other person know that you are following Christ by considering him or her more important than yourself (Phil. 2:3-4)

Application questions

Does your spouse have confidence that he or she will be able to say all that is on his or her heart without fear of your response?

Are you an advocate or an accuser in your daily communication? Do your words create safety or anxiety for your spouse?

Are you able to pour out to God your deepest concerns and needs when praying with your spouse?

If the answer is no to any of these question, trusted counseling help is essential.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.