Wherefore my beloved brethren let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak slow to wrath (James 1:19)
Have you seen the t-shirt that says, “I’m talking and I can’t shut up!” Whenever you are dating you can talk for hours. But when you are married, unless you work at it, conversation sometimes becomes superficial and leads to disagreements. God says, “Be willing to listen and slow to speak”, because there is an art to communicating:
1. Let your mate lead. When they are talking about things outside your field of interest, remember, God said, “submit to one another”(Eph. 5:21 NIV). Sometimes that means asking your partner, “what do you want to talk about?”
2. Shorter can be better. “Honey, can we talk for a few minutes” is less threatening than the ominous “we need to talk” announcement! Some people can only stand so much “soul-baring”; pressuring them just gets the wrong result. If your spouse is unresponsive on an issue, discuss it with a trusted friend, then give your spouse the condensed, less emotional version.
3. Be a friend, not a mentor. Don’t try to change your mate by nagging. Asking, “why can’t you?” or “why do you always?” sounds more like parenting than partnering. Tell them once what’s bothering you, not 1,000 times! Ask yourself, “would I say this to a valued friend?” if not,, don’t say it.
4. Be affirming. It takes 12 compliments to neutralize one criticism. Your partner won’t know how wonderful they are unless you tell them!