“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Proverbs 25:11
Communication is one of the keys to a healthy marriage. Good communication usually leads to a better marriage.
Here are the ABC’s of a word spoken in right circumstances.
Affirm each other daily. Men tend to like to be recognized for what they do. Women tend to receive affirmation for who they are. So affirm one another in ways that will be received well by the other.
Bestow honor upon your spouse in front of the children and others. The Bible teaches us to “give preference to one another in honor” Romans 12:10b. This general admonition should regularly be applied to marriage.
Curtail complaints and criticism. Cutting back on complaints is very difficult since much of the time it seems so justified in the eyes of the beholder. If nothing else be sure to balance complaints and criticism with compliments and constructive comments.
Here’s the secret to giving criticism. Proverbs 25:12 says “Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.” People tend to listen to a wise reprover rather than a clanging cymbal.
Reproof is criticism of a fault. There are two requirements for effective criticism.
First, reproof or criticism needs to be based on wisdom and not opinion or feelings. Secondly, reproof or criticism needs a listening ear, which means your spouse needs to be receptive to your criticism, which requires regular communication that has nothing to do with criticism.
Remember that the Bible teaches us to “Speak the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15a.
In marriage, we need to do our best to affirm one another daily, bestow words of honor and curtail complaints and criticism.
This isn’t all there is to good communication, but it’s a start or, at least, something to think about…