EXPRESSING YOUR NEEDS
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger
If you have legitimate needs in a relationship, and they are not being met, should you risk expressing your needs? Yes, but express them in such a way that you don't impugn the other person's character or act as his conscience. For example, you may feel unloved in a relationship and say, "You don't love me any more." Or you feel that your spouse doesn't value you and say, "You make me feel worthless." Or you feel a distance developing between you and your friend and say, "You never write or call." You have expressed your need, but you have played the role of the conscience in that person. You are usurping the role of the Holy Spirit. And by pushing off your need as his problem, he will probably respond by getting defensive, further straining the relationship.
What if you expressed your needs this way: "I don't feel loved any more"; "I feel like a worthless, unimportant person"; "I miss it when we don't communicate regularly"? By changing the "you" accusation to an "I" message, you express your need without blaming anyone. Your nonjudgmental approach allows God to deal with the person's conscience. The other person is free to respond to your need instead of defend himself against your attack.
When we assume the responsibility of another person's conscience, we misdirect that person's battle with God to ourselves, and we are insufficient for the task. We are under the commandment of God to love one another. So when a legitimate need is made known, trust God to bring the conviction that will move that person to meet the need.
Prayer: Lord, enable me to express my needs and seek Your supply without judging or criticizing others.
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