I am reading a book by Joshua Harris and in it he writes some tips on communicating within relationships that I really liked:
1. "Communication problems are usually heart problems" .... our lips are merely messengers of our heart and our words flaw what's inside us. If our words are selfish or sarcastic, it means we are selfish and sarcastic. But the great news is that God's Spirit working inside us can allow us to communicate better and by His grace work on areas in our own lives that we find hard to deal with.
2. "Your ears are the most important communication tool" .... listening is an expression of humility and genuine concern for others. Empathy is something I personally sense in others and feel appreciated when others related to me and try to understand my situation. I therefore want to be empathetic towards others.
3. "Good communication doesn't happen by accident." It takes intention. Planning activities and even planning conversations can help- having questions for the other person to get to know them in a deeper way. Communication should NEVER be formal or forced though. Keep it casual and enjoyable.
4. "The absence of conflict doesn't equal good communication" .... Our goal shouldn't be to avoid conflict but to learn how to work through it and resolve it in a way that honors God.
5. "Motive is more important than technique" .... Make sure the motive behind getting to know someone is pleasing to God. To encourage, build-up, serve, and benefit them. This is a completely unselfish approach.... Unlike many of the books today that help you learn to communicate so that you get what you want, turning words into weapons to further our own selfish desires, genuine communication focuses on building up others and putting God first.
Use words to gratify and glorify God, not ourselves.... And put other's interests first.