Wednesday, September 24, 2008

6 Easy Steps to a Peaceful Life

After nearly 27 years of marriage, I've come to the conclusion that about 80% of disagreements (substitute "fights" or "arguments" here, depending on volume levels) are caused by poor communication.

There are a variety of symptoms that indicate poor communication:
  • snapping over minor irritations
  • silent treatment while nursing perceived insults
  • insisting one's own way is the only way
These are just the beginning of what could be a very long list. Are you starting to see a picture emerge here--with an outline of selfishness?

God's word more aptly describes this picture as a tangible sound, a "constant dripping."

“The contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.” ~Proverbs 19:13 (NASB)

“A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike.” ~Proverbs 27:15 (NASB)

The writer uses a woman as an example here, but these can easily be applied to a man as well. But the writer has other examples from the perspective of a male ego.

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife.” ~Proverbs 15:18 (NASB)

“A perverse man spreads strife.” ~Proverbs 16:28 (NASB)

All these verses give us a picture, as Elizabeth George puts it, of a crabby, cranky, nagging, quarrelsome, complaining, ill-tempered [man or woman]. And it all comes down to the way we choose to communicate.

Our words and how we use them can give us a stressful life or a peaceful life. God leaves the choice to us, while explaining very clearly in His word what is the best choice.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstances.” ~Proverbs 25:11 (NASB)

Here we are given an image of great beauty and value. There are 5 keys to bring that beauty into our lives through our words.
  1. Our words are to be soft.
    “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” ~Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)

  2. Our words are to be sweet.
    “Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” ~Proverbs 16:21 (NASB)

  3. Our words are to be suitable.
    “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” ~Proverbs 16:24 (NASB)

  4. Our words are to be scant.
    “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” ~Proverbs 10:19 (NASB)

  5. Our words are to be slow.
    “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” ~James 1:19 (NASB)

When we apply God's principles of good communication, we will soon see the result of our efforts when we add the 6 Easy Steps to a Peaceful Life (adapted from Elizabeth George's book A Woman After God's Own Heart):

#1- Follow God's guidelines for good communication.
#2- Identify any speech patterns that must go.
#3- Make it a goal to encourage your spouse, children, friends.
#4- Be quick to say you're sorry.
#5- "Say what you mean, but don't say it meanly."
#6- Seek to please God with your words.

“Let the words of my acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” ~Psalms 19:14 (NASB)


Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

I'd like to get Elizabeth George's Book. This is a good post! DH is performing a wedding this weekend and "practiced" his sermon on me this a.m. Many of the same verses. :-) Message here??! Too many people [men] like to focus on the dripping water and put the WIFE in the hotseat. Water drips from the Y chromosomes have equal annoyance! ...but I digress: Great compilation of versese. THANK YOU!

Patricia Warren said...

LOL! That dripping water is sooo annoying!

Thanks, Estermay!