When it comes to communication, what is the goal? Do we want to speak? Do we want to be heard? And do we want to listen? Of course we do, but there's something we need even more than all that–it’s to be understood. My brother-in-law is a carpenter and one of his rules is measure twice, cut once. In the same way a good rule of thumb for communication should be, listen twice, speak once. If we could listen twice as much as we speak we’d master the gift of communication much sooner. And we’d win a few hearts in the process.
One thing I've always admired about my closest friends is that they understood me like no one else could. Looking back on it now I'm guessing that's probably the reason that we connected so well in the first place.
There's been quite a few times when I could say to my friend Steph, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And both of us would start laughing uncontrollably.
The really cool thing about being married to Michael is that our communication goes even deeper than that. We read each other's body language as often as we verbalize our thoughts. But even then –- when we're speaking without words -- it's important that we listen.
So how do we communicate better? How do we listen more than we speak?
Here are three Bible verses that are a good rule of thumb.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Proverbs 25:28)
Without self control communication can easily spin out of control and turn into a full blown argument. Careless words are weapons that cut deep into the soul. We also need self-control if we hope to listen more than we speak. We'll never understand the heart of another person if we don't slow down to hear them.