There are moments you will read fatigue in a communication and thereafter chose to respond differently even though it appeared harsh. We should not be preoccupied by other things and miss out the point of the communication. Many of us are selective hearers. We need to avoid selective hearing and approach hearing from a holistic view.

Take your time before reacting

Second, we need to be slow to react. It is always better to take time before we speak than to hurry and end up hurting the relationship. Taking time makes one consider both the positive and negative consequences of their reaction. When we take time to listen, we are also able to consider what was said and the context in which it was said. It is possible to discover whether the other person was under some pressure to say what they said.

Knowing where the other person is coming from is key to how we respond to them. Remember, an argument for the sake of it is not productive for any relationship. Taking time to respond helps us separate our empty emotions from a response that is loaded with wisdom and grace — even when the other person does not deserve it.

Finally, being slow to anger has everything about processing what has been said and making the choice to not react out of context and in anger. The fruit of the Spirit calls for us to tame our tongue. Great relationships have been killed or ruined out of improper responses by spouses. Yes, we can be wounded. But two wrongs don't make a right. Where there has been gross misbehaviour, we can still part ways but in a civilised manner without causing unnecessary chaos. Therefore let us overcome evil with good.

As a husband, father, counsellor, pastor and mentor, I have encountered many families hurting from bad language or the use of words without due consideration. This is what this topic is about: the role of communication in a family and how it dictates the health of the family and society. My philosophy is that, when it comes to marriage, it takes the man and his wife to love and respect each other because marriage is a ‘We Affair”.

Be mindful of your partner

It is sad when a partner within the relationship begins to feel used or abused. This builds up a feeling of not being an integral part of the relationship. With this in mind, relationship should never be reduced to a commodity to achieve an end. No one within the relationship should feel like they are not important. As much as we desire to communicate value, our words and actions must match. Culture that is value-based in relationships intersects the essence of what it means to be human. In return, this helps us learn to value and build each other above other relationships. Consequently, your spouse must be seen to be of greater importance and not a tool in our hands. When we show value, respect and affirmation through our words and actions to people, they feel an important part of the relationship.

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