‘But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things…..’ (Ephesians 4:15).
There are two ways to tell the truth – the “give them a piece of your mind” style which readily comes to the mind of everyone but strains relationship; or the Bible way: “speaking the truth in love approach” (Ephesians 4:15), which resolves conflict and enhances relationships.
Citing one of the familiar conflict between couples – habitual lateness in keeping appointment from the side of the man. How can the wife speak the truth in love and at the same time get her message across? I suggest the following steps that may be leveraged on, not only in marriage but in friendship and work:
-She could say to him: ‘Darling I feel frustrated you know?’ No blame, no attack, but just an honest expression of her emotion but the message has gotten out and there is heavy relief.
– ‘When you are late.’ No judging, name-calling or labeling; but a concrete description of his action.
– ‘It seems to say to me that my time is not really important to you.’ No moralizing; just honestly sharing her feelings.
-Another method may be by saying ‘please try to be on time, or call and let me know when you’ll be here.’ Instead of focusing on past actions he cannot change, she’s telling him what she’d like him to do differently next time.
-‘Would you be willing to do that for me?’ No demanding or taking for granted; just asking for consideration and cooperation. When he agrees, they have a contract. She thank him sincerely and rewards every effort he makes to keep his word.
By following any of these approaches, she has effectively realigned the relationship by making him her ally, not her enemy, and redefined the focus as a shared one, not something she does to him. The Bible say: “can two walk together except they agree?” (Amos 3:3). Happy are you when you do these things.