Another frustrating conversation! Sometimes it seems that there is no way to have positive communication with your family.
Here are three questions you should ask yourself about your communication with those you love. Your answers will provide insight into the areas where your conversations must grow in depth and in maturity so that God is honored and your family helped.
Do your spouse and your children have confidence that they will be able to say all that is on their heart without fear of your response?
Is your family accustomed to being cut-off or being corrected before they can finish speaking? Do you interrupt because you think you know what is coming? If this is your pattern you are building relational barriers that severely limit your ability to communicate.
Those closest to you need to be able to express what is on their hearts so that you can know how to lovingly and wisely engage them to bring truth and healing to your lives. The Holy Spirit specifically warns against the danger of answering before listening. See Proverbs 18:13 and James 1:19-20.
Are you an advocate or an accuser in your daily communication? Do your words create safety or anxiety for your spouse and children?
If you love the way Christ has loved you, you will want to be a refuge and a place of safety for your family. Your goal is to point those you love to Christ, not to condemn them by reminding them how wrong they are. You want to do more than give your opinion. You want to create the opportunity for those you love to know that you understand them. You want them to know your love and not your frustration! Pleasant, gentle communication is not just a nice idea, it is what God commands. See Ephesians 4:31, Proverbs 16:20-24.
Are you able to pray with your spouse about areas in your walk with God where you need to grow in your communication patterns? Are you open with them about your struggles and not be defensive? It is relatively easy to pray to ask God to help your marriage partner. But it requires faith to open yourself to them in the areas where you need to grow.
Don’t be tripped up by your own pride — invite your husband or wife to pray for you in the areas where you need help. See Ephesians 4:31-32
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.