Speak The Truth In Love: Marriage Skill #30
Eph. 4:15 "but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,"
Some people speak the truth without love, and others out of what they think is love don't speak the truth. It seems we err on one side or the other but we are to do both; speak the truth in love.
Just because you think something, doesn't mean you should say it (truth without love). Others err by not speaking up more often about things that are important to us (love without truth).
Here are some guidelines to do both:
1. Identify your negative / general complaint (done privately).
"He/she is so inconsiderate for making plans without asking me first! I'm sick of it"
Now reword your complaint into a more positive expression of your needs. Here's how:
2. Assume the best. Most people don't set out to hurt us intentionally. So begin your conversation acknowledging that the person didn't intentionally upset you. See things from their perspective and then begin with words that show you're "thinking the best" of them.
"I know you have been very busy with things at work, and yet . . ."
3. State the facts. Clearly and concisely identify the event that is upsetting you. Just give the facts leaving out judgments, criticisms, sarcasm, threats or aggressive tones. Don't ramble but get to the point.
"When you made dinner plans the other night without checking with me first . . ."
4. Tell how you feel. Let them know how the events impacted you emotionally in one or two words.
"I felt disrespected and disappointed."
5. Share what you need. Finally, share a specific, vulnerable statement telling how the person could meet your need in the future. Tell what you need and what that might look like or sound like for the future. Words like, "Next time, it would mean a lot to me . . . " and "In the future, it would be important for me . . . ".
"Next time, it would mean a lot to me if you would check with me before making plans that affect me. It is important to me, that we discuss our schedules to that I feel included and respected."
Speaking the truth in love does not include:
- Name calling or labeling (i.e. You were a real jerk for . . .).
- Raising your voice.
- A harsh or demeaning tone of voice.
- Sarcasm, threats or aggression.
- Generalizing or blowing things out of portion ("You always . . . " or "you never . . . ").