12 Principles of Communication

  1. Be a quiet listener and don’t answer until the other has finished talking. If you would like an amusing exercise, sit quietly in a public restaurant and listen to the people communicate.  Often there are two people engaged in talking and nobody involved in listening. (Proverbs 18:13; James 1:19)
  2. Be slow to speak. Think first.  don’t be hasty in your words.  It has been said, “Make sure the brain is actively in gear before the mouth is engaged.”  Speak in such a way that the other person can understand and accept what is being said.  (Proverbs 15:23, 21:23, 29:20)
  3. Don’t use silence to frustrate the other person. Explain the reasons for your non-response:  that you are considering, you need time to think about it, or you are having difficulty with your emotions and you don’t want to speak back in wrath. (Ecclesiastes 3:7; James 1:19)
  4. Let your speech be true but always in love. Don’t exaggerate to make a point, don’t withhold information to deceive. (Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 3:9)
  5. Don’t get involved in destructive quarrels. It is possible to disagree without destroying your spouse.  There is a way that fighting and disagreement can build a relationship instead of destroying it.  (Proverbs 17:14; 20:3, Romans 13:13; Ephesians 4:31)
  6. Anger is a feeling and anger is an action. We cannot control the emotion of anger but we can control the action of anger.  (Proverbs 14:29, 15:1, 25:15, 29:11; Ephesians 4:26, 31)
  7. When you sense your error be a big enough person to admit it and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, “I’m sorry” when sincerely said will immediately resolve a crisis.  (James 5:16)
  8. When someone asks your forgiveness, tell them you forgive them and make sure it’s forgotten and never brought up again.  (proverbs 17:9; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8)
  9. Don’t nag. After you have given your message, request feedback.  (Proverbs 10:19, 17:9)
  10. Don’t blame or criticize the other, rather encourage them and edify them.  (Romans 14:13; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  11. If someone is angrily criticizing you or verbally attacking you, don’t rise to the defense in the same manner.  (Romans 12:17, 21; 1 Peter 2:23, 3:9)
  12. The goal of communication is understanding, not agreement.  Make allowances for unique differences.  Be concerned about their interests.  What are they saying?  Why are they saying it?  When you understand those things, then communication has taken place, not when you have total agreement of each others opinions. (Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 2:1-4)

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