When my husband and I first got married, we created and instituted our own little set of rules for communication. These were like training wheels for us, and we were pretty faithful at observing them. I am convinced that God used our little “rules” to keep us on track those first few years of marriage. We became so used to these that it soon became second nature.
First, we agreed on two banned words during any kind of communication in conflict: never and always. Why? Well, consider the rhetorical effect: “You never remember my birthday. You always forget.” This is a universal and sweeping statement. Not even once did you remember? This kind of language cuts no slack and guarantees a defensive response.
We agreed that all past offenses were off limits. If they were forgiven, they were indeed forgotten. If it was dealt with, it could not be brought up again.
We kept an eleven o’clock rule, which probably got moved up to ten thirty. After that hour we agreed to sleep on it and finish the discussion in the morning. Everything looks better in the light of day! And the longer you work on a problem late at night, the worse it gets. Read More