Honesty in Communication

HONESTY IN COMMUNICATION
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Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an ear that listens and learns. By patience and a calm spirit a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft and gentle tongue breaks the bone [of resistance]. Proverbs 25:11-12, 15 (AMP)

My 24th birthday will forever be one for the books. I was newly married, and not-so-patiently awaiting the incredible birthday extravaganza my new husband had been planning behind my back. Growing up in my house, birthday were a BIG deal. It usually began at 12:00 am with a slew of phone calls as each of my siblings raced to be the first one to call and wish me “Happy Birthday,” and ended at 11:59:59 pm as I hung on to savor every single second of birthday bliss. I just knew that my hubby was planning something spectacular, but his lips were sealed, and I had not even an inkling of what he was planning for my big day. He had kept all of his secret scheming firmly locked down, and I was in awe of the fact that I hadn’t heard even a single phone call, slip up from a friend, or gleaned any special clues from our bank account or Amazon activity. The Day finally rolled around, and I hopped out of bed and walked into the kitchen to see...

My husband washing dishes.

There were no balloons hanging from the ceiling, no banner or streamers over my spot at the table, and no shiny new car sitting in our living room. After a bit of fidgeting around the house, I finally asked him what we our plans were for the rest of the day. “Well, I know we’ve both been super busy at work, so I thought you would want to take it easy and rest today. I figured we could go out to dinner, and see your family on a different day.” Now to some, that might seem incredibly insensitive. “How could he marry someone and NOT know how special her birthday is?!”

Well, the answer is simple: I never told him. I never told him how special my birthday was to me. I never told him I expected a big gift, an extravagant display of affection, and a giant party where he invited every single person I had ever met in my life. In my immaturity and naivety, I had decided that if my husband knew me well enough and loved me deeply enough, he would be able to know, what I was thinking, what I expected, and what I wanted without me every having to utter a word.

 
By never telling him what I wanted, I set myself up for disappointment, and him up for failure.
 

I had an unrealistic expectation to begin with, but by never communicating to him what it what, he had no hope of showing me his love in a way that I could receive. To say that we have grown in the ten years following this horrible situation would be an understatement, but through God’s grace a ton of perseverance, we were able to learn how to communicate better, and create some rules of engagement in order to love each other deeper. And while these rules initially helped me to have a better marriage, they have also helped me have better, more fruitful relationships in every area of my life.

  1. Believe the best in each other.

Always. I love how the Amplified version of 1 Corinthians 13:7 talks about how we should look for the best in others: “love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], and endures all things [without weakening].” When we approach difficult conversations, we purpose in our hearts to believe the best in the each other, knowing that hard conversations had with love don’t break us down; they build intimacy and trust.

  1. Speak Honestly.

Never be afraid to specifically ask if you have a need or a want. If you would like you friend to call before stopping by, or if you want your husband to take out the garbage, directly and kindly ask them for what you need. When we believe the best in each other, we are free to make our requests known without fear of hurt or offense. In Philippians 4:6 God himself instructs us to make our specific requests known to Him. If the Creator of the Universe, who knows our thoughts before we even give them words, tells us to ask, how much more important would it be for us to be specific and bold to those we love in an effort to live in harmony?

3. Listen Fully.

James 1:19 says this better than I ever could: “Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving].” We are always going to have to have hard conversations, and those difficult moments of pruning and stretching are where we grow the most. While it is easy to tell other people where they need to change, it can seem suffocating to be confronted with areas in our lives that need maintenance. When we trust others fully, we can open ourselves up to their words, but in order for correction to take root, we need to listen to hear, not listen to respond.

  1. Stick it out.

Confrontation is hard. Change is hard. Growth is hard. Communicating and growing together with another person, either as a friend, a spouse, a parent, or a child is rarely cut-and-dry, and taken intentional effort to produce results. It can seem painstaking and sometimes it can be difficult to measure the result when you are in the midst of it. BUT! “Let us not grow weary of [become discouraged] in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap, if we do not give in. (Galatians 6:9 AMP)” Like the labor that brings a baby or the years of exams that earn a Doctor his degree, you will have a good reward for your effort!

Communication is a two-sided coin; both the currency in which we build intimacy,
and when used carelessly, how we purchase conflict and discord in our relationships.

I want to challenge you today to look at a relationship around you that is faltering, and pray about how you “find the gold” in that person and build your eternal treasure.

Go the Extra Mile:

Take an opportunity at least once a day to call out something positive to someone close to you! Thank your husband for taking out the trash, affirm your child if you catch him being kind to a sibling, or let a friend know how much it means when they check on you during the day! It’s such an easy (and fun!) was to build up people you love, and it helps you look for things to be thankful for!

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