Think before you talk

Here’s a little advice that has helped me and Helen to confront difficult issues in our marriage. Perhaps it may help you also.
Before you begin conversations about sensitive issues, establish and maintain a positive purpose. After you have defused the tension and avoided a destructive confrontation, prepare to speak constructively about the conflict. Remember that your goal is to begin resolving conflicts through constructive conversations. Creating constructive conversations requires disciplined preparation. You must establish a positive purpose in your heart before you begin to discuss difficult issues. Begin at the end-always know what you are trying to accomplish. Keep asking yourself: “What positive purpose am I trying to accomplish?” Take time to think prayerfully BEFORE you speak.

Tell your spouse: “I want to see the situation through your eyes and from your perspective; to see as you see and to feel as you feel.” This requires tremendous humility, patience, and wisdom (wisdom to know what, when, and how to ask crucial questions that facilitate understanding and demonstrate sincerity). Before you speak, say the following to yourself: “Right now, before I speak, I will guard my heart, and make sure that I have a positive purpose in mind.” “My purpose is to create mutual understanding through the skillful pursuit of truth in love.”