Here are three questions you should ask yourself about your communication with those you love. The way you answer these questions provides insight into the areas where your conversations must grow in depth and in maturity.
1) 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 are difficult to overcome.
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. See Proverbs 18:13 and James 1:19-20.
2) 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. See Ephesians 4:31 and Proverbs 16:20-24.
3) Are you able to pray with your spouse about areas in your walk with God where you need to grow?
It is relatively easy to pray to ask God to help your marriage partner. 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.
Jay Younts is the author of “Everyday Talk: Talking freely and Naturally about God with Your Children” and “Everyday Talk about Sex & Marriage.” He blogs at ShepherdPress.com, where this article (reprinted with permission) first appeared.