Angie and I talk to a lot of couples about marriage, and one of the most common problems we encounter is the communication conundrum. Spouses really struggle to know how to articulate themselves as well as how to understand each other.

Nearly two thousand years ago, James, the half-brother of Jesus and apostolic leader of the early Jerusalem church, gave us the ultimate plan for better communication and understanding in any context, and it’s made up of three simple phrases.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

~ James 1:19 NIV

Take a moment to imagine how your closest relationships would change for the better if you developed these three habits:

  1. Listen attentively before thinking of your response.
  2. Speak only after fully thinking your words through.
  3. Slow down the process of frustration.

Ultimately, what James is challenging us to do is to handle our emotions in a holy, healthy way. You don’t always control your emotions, but you always have a choice in how to respond to your emotions and what actions you choose to take based on your feelings.

You will always communicate more clearly and effectively when you tune in, take it slow, and take it down a notch.

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