Proverbs 17:19 – “Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin”
So, what is the antidote to the four horsemen of negative speech? First, I think we need to treat others how you wish to be treated, with care and compassion. Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” When it comes to those closest to you ask yourself, how did you treated them when you first met them and wanted to get to know them, and then treat them that way. When we first met them, we were excited to get to know them and discover their hearts. It’s easy to become complacent and settle for communication that is nothing more than the transfer of information, we are out of milk, the kids have a teacher conference on Tuesday, instead of real heart connection.
Not only do we need to treat others with dignity and compassion, but we need to be mindful and create a habit of mind. Instead of scanning your environment for negative things about people, scan for the positive things you love about them. As you do don’t just reflect on these positive traits but comment on them. This is what Paul teaches in Philippians 4:8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Praise and appreciation for others will go a long way and give you more of what you love about them because that is what you are focusing on. What you focus on is what you will see and what will ultimately expand. Sadly many of us are expanding the negative things not the true, and honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
Create a lasting friendship. In relationships that stay together for the long haul, friendship is an essential part of the equation. When it comes to marriage friendship is the key. I think there are three ingredients to friendship, which are essential in creating intimacy with your partner. These are positive ways of building a healthy relationship. This also works in creating more meaningful relationships with your children and those close to you. The three ingredients to enhance your friendship with those you love are:
1.Enhance love maps
This is merely knowing your partner, their inner thoughts, dreams, needs, their history, their past, their inner world. Know what stresses out your partner, what excites them, what are their hopes, values, and inspirations. When you choose to spend your life with someone, you hand them a map to your inner world. Your inner world is, of course, quite complex including the memories of your past, the details of your present, your hopes for the future. It includes your deepest fears and your grandest dreams. But the map you hand your partner is a pencil sketch. The task for new couples is to intentionally be adding details to that map. It needs scale and direction Over the course of a lifetime, you will be constantly adding landmarks, texture, color. A detailed love map brings perspective to the twists and turns that inevitably enter a marriage. So how do you develop your love map? Ask your partner questions, be interested in them. Remember how you acted during your first couple of dates together. The same is true when it comes to your kids or even others, take a genuine interest in them. Ask questions find out what makes their hearts come alive.
2. Express fondness and admiration
Communicate respect and affection for your partner in small ways. The people who are masters at relating practice kind words, “Thank you,” “I appreciate you,” “I’m proud of you.” Small words of appreciation can’t just be thoughts they need be spoken so that others hear them. Do you know that people like being appreciated for the small things they do, not just for the every once in a while big things? Are you showing your appreciation for others? Try catching your kids doing things right not just wrong and reward them.
3. Bids for emotional connection
How often do you ignore something those you love say? We need to stop doing this. When those we care about say something, even the smallest of comments, they are making a bid for connection. Even if it is something like, “look, honey, the squirrel is back in the yard.” That is a bid for connection. If you don’t look up from your phone or laptop or book, you are ignoring their attempt for connection and potentially damaging your relationship. When you ignore the bid, you’re essentially turning away from them when you need to be turning towards them. What direction are you facing when it comes to those you love? Are you doing life face to face or are you just shoulder to shoulder? God gave us others so we could connect and cultivate His greatest treasure relationship. What are you investing in, is it just a career or is it connection our greatest need.