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Intersection of Life and Faith

Guidelines For Communication

  • Dr. H. Norman Wright Counselor/ Therapist
  • 2001 12 Aug
Guidelines For Communication

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!
Proverbs 15:23

Couples do a lot of talking, but is it really communication? Let’s think about two things: What is communication, and what guidelines should we follow as we communicate?

Communication is the process of sharing yourself both verbally and nonverbally in such a way that the other person can understand and accept what you are sharing. Of course, it means you also have to attend with your ears and eyes so that the other person can communicate with you.

Communication is accomplished only when the other person receives the message you send, whether verbal or nonverbal. Communication can be effective, positive and constructive, or it can be ineffective, negative and destructive. While one [partner] may intend the message to be positive, the other...may receive it as a negative.

The Word of God is the most effective resource for learning to communicate. In it you will find a workable pattern for healthy relationships. Here are just a few guidelines it offers:

• “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15, NASB).

• “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance” (Prov. 28:13, TLB).

• “For we all stumble in many ways. If any one does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (Jas. 3:2, NASB).

• “Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile” (1 Pet. 3:10, NASB).

• “Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal” (Prov. 12:18, TLB).

• “A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes” (Prov. 14:29, TLB).

• “Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement....Everyone enjoys giving good advise, and how wonderful it is to be able to say the right thing at the right time!” (Prov. 15:4,23, TLB).

• “Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket” (Prov. 25:11, TLB).

• “A friendly discussion is as stimulating as the sparks that fly when iron strikes iron” (Prov. 27:17, TLB).

• “Pride leads to arguments; be humble, take advice and become wise” (Prov. 13:10, TLB).

• “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” (Prov. 17:9, TLB).

• “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31-32, NASB).[1]

So how do you remember these principles? It is simple; memorize each passage. Once each one is committed to memory, the Holy Spirit will bring them back to mind just when you need to be reminded the most. To encourage you in this process, you may want to begin with the following passage, which reinforces this point:

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word” (Ps 119:9, KJV).


1. H. Norman Wright, So You're Getting Married (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1985), pp. 137-139.

Excerpted by permission from Starting Out Together: A Devotional for Dating Or Engaged Couples by H. Norman Wright (Regal Books), p. 53-54. To purchase the product follow this link.

H. Norman Wright is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist. He was formerly Director of the Graduate Department of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling at Biola University as well as an Associate Professor of Psychology. He has taught graduate school for over twenty-five years at Talbot School of Theology and the Graduate Department of Marriage and Family Counseling at Biola University Dr. Wright is the founder and director of Christian Marriage Enrichment, a national organization designed to train ministers and lay leaders in counseling and enrichment. Dr. H. Norman Wright is a graduate of Westmont College (B.A. Christian Education), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.R.E.), and Pepperdine University (M.A. in Clinical Psychology) and has received honorary doctorates D.D. and D.Litt. from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and Biola University respectively. He has pioneered premarital counseling programs throughout the country. Dr. Wright is the author of over 65 books—including the best-selling Always Daddy’s Girl and Quiet Times for Couples. He and his wife, Joyce, have a married daughter, Sheryl, and a son, Matthew, who was profoundly retarded and is now deceased. The Wrights make their home in Southern California.

Visit Dr. H. Norman Wright's site.

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