Thursday, February 14, 2013

Communicating with Love

Human relationships are based on communication. In order to love someone well, you have to communicate well. Verbal and nonverbal interactions can build up and strengthen a relationship or tear it to pieces. So whether it’s your spouse, child, friend or neighbor, use these five communicating principles to show love and respect to the relationships in your life:

1.     Overlook what you can when you can. Sometimes we just have to drop the cookie, let it go, get over it and move on. It will spare us many unnecessary arguments.

2.     Build up, don’t tear down. Nagging never works and whining is childish. Apply the golden rule: speak to others how you want them to speak to you, with kind and encouraging words. (And like my mom always said: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.)

3.     Be quick to listen – concentrate on what the other person is saying (don’t just formulate your rebuttal while they are talking), ask clarifying questions to show you are listening and to make sure you understand, follow-up with a reflective statement ("So what you are saying is…") and wait to respond (don’t interrupt).

     4.     Consider time and setting to address conflict – the best time to discuss an issue   is not when the other person is tired, upset, or preoccupied; make sure you have plenty of time to finish the discussion, that there are no distractions and do it face to face. In other words, schedule your fight!

     5. Use wise words – go into a discussion prepared – take notes on what you want   to say (topics, feelings, solutions), be clear and gracious, anticipate their reactions and use “I statements” ("I feel that…" NOT "you always…").

May your relationships be filled with love and grace as you learn to communicate with love!

*Principles learned from Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande