James 4:1-3 (NASB)
“I’ve learned in who I am to be content”
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive blessing because you ask with wrong motives.
REVIEW: Relationship is where two people narrate their lives (relate). “You are neither the source nor the solution for the trouble or pain within me.” Also, “I am neither the source nor the solution for the trouble or pain within you.” When our Source is Christ, then we develop “into-me-you-see.” The ability to truthfully express what you feel, think and believe establishes the best boundaries for real relationships.
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11), but “Harsh words are like sword thrusts” (Proverbs 12:18). The Hebrew word translated "apples" is the word jewelry. Speech that is well thought through, patient in delivery, and designed for the purpose of the other person's ultimate good is like a piece of gold jewelry encased in silver. It's valuable, beautiful, and memorable. Notice the contrast the Bible makes between "harsh words" and "aptly spoken words." When emotions take over, I should pull back, assess my Source (15 Words), and then speak an intimate, apt word.
Communicate appropriate words with CARE:
Consider the other person
The essence of Kingdom living is selfless living. The only person who can be a giver in relationship is the one whose heart is already full. A lack of emotional control (panic, fear, worry, anger, anxiety) is, in reality, a lack of resting in Jesus as your Source of acceptance, provision, security, identity, and purpose. Express yourself freely, but avoid absolute second person language (“you never” or “you always”).
Accept the other person
The reason emotions run high in relationship is because we want something from that other person and we are not getting it. I have a saying to help people struggling in relationship: “That which you think needs to change in the other person usually only changes when God knows you don’t need it changed.” You may desire change for the good of another, but you will be okay whether change comes or not.
Remind the other person
There is nothing wrong with reminding the other person about his or her responsibilities and what you think is best. However, learn to accept the fact that your significant other may not fulfill his or her responsibilities (ex. “to forgive”) the way you do. Feel free to discuss and offer suggestions on how the other person might be able to fulfill the responsibility. Feel free to express your frustrations and emotions freely, but acknowledge them as a problem taking place within yourself, and you’ll be okay.
Encourage the other person
By being a listener who values the feelings, expressions, emotions, and activities of others! One who looks the other person in the eye, communicates with CARE, and throws out expectations of response, but takes responsibility for his or her own thoughts, feelings, and desires, is learning the language of relationships. If another can’t communicate like this– model it. Some things are caught, not taught.