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Many people ask "Tell me what I can do to build a more loving relationship with others, be it a friend, colleague or spouse?" The answer is by "better communication".

Here are the Twelve principles to help you to build that loving and lasting relationship.

If you are single, the following principles will enhance your personal communication with others in your circle of friends. If you are dating, you will certainly want to apply them immediately.

For those of you who are married, these principles can dramatically improve your communication with your spouse and children. Most marriages do not ever develop intimacy beyond the level of communication between the spouses-and that, of course, depends on how much you desire openness and verbal interaction. Should you be a parent, effective implementation of these principles will reduce the complaint, "You aren't listening to me" (probably the biggest complaint teens have against their parents).

Ready for some action? Here are the twelve principles:

1. Work at it: Doing what comes naturally may be the motto for many in our culture, but becoming a good communicator does not just happen. All of us have been twisted by the self-centeredness of our lives, so we need to make a lot of effort based on solid commitment to better communication.

If you want to build a loving relationship, among other things you must develop the skill of being a good listener and that takes work. Read James 1:19-The Bible.

2. Learn to Compromise: A healthy marriage relationship is a give-and-take situation, especially where differing styles of communicating are involved. Each person needs the freedom to be himself or herself while still adapting to the other's needs. One style is not necessarily better than another. It's just that people are different when it comes to needs in communication and a skillful communicator knows when to adjust.

3. Seek to understand: Have you ever agreed to meet someone at a specific building downtown, only to wait in vain while your friend looked for you half a block away? You thought you were very clear in your communication, but she did not understand it clearly.

One of the keys to communication and to developing intimacy is to realize that the other person is not only trying to understand, but he or she truly cares. This empathy will cause both individuals to be more open in the relationship. Our commitment must be to really hear the other person, regardless of differing convictions or disagreements.

4. Affirm the other person's Worth, Dignity, and Value: Every person has a deep need to be heard, to be listened to. The very act of listening communicates a sense of value, esteem, love, and dignity. It makes the person feel very important. And a relationship usually will not progress beyond the level of mutual communication and respect shown by each person, one for the other.

5. Be Positive and Encouraging: Being positive is a real plus factor in communications. It promotes openness with your mate, whereas criticism tends to hinder healthy communications. Two very critical people may communicate, but it will not be healthy communication. By nature we each tend to accentuate and remember the negative.

Are you a positive communicator with people? It will be far easier for them to reach out to you and share if your orientation is positive.

6. Practice Confidentiality: What a plus factor it is when the other person knows that you are able to keep things to yourself. There's automatically a greater willingness to be open with you. If you are a gossip-one who habitually talks about other people-you raise an immediate barrier to others sharing intimately with you for fear that you will make their innermost feelings public.

Do you keep things to yourself? Publicly airing private matters destroys the trust in a marriage. (to be contd next week) Part 2 >>

Be encouraged!

***********************Letter 30 (11.8.2002)*******************
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