To have a good relationship with someone, we must have good communication. And good communication is based on two things: talking, and listening. Have a think about some of your recent conflicts – can you spot any behaviours and attitudes that might have contributed to them? Things like: Fears. Insecurity. Jealousy. Stubbornness. Arrogance. Greed. Sin. Rebellion. Unexpressed or unmet expectations. Unrealistic expectations. Differing standards, beliefs, philosophies, or views. Competing desires. Power struggles. Goals and intentions that don’t match. Boundaries (spoken or unspoken) that aren’t being respected. Lack of resources (time, money, space). Lack of information. Not understanding the needs of different personalities. Poor relational skills. James wrote, ‘My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak.’ This Bible verse is crucial to good communication. When we listen, we create an atmosphere where people feel they’ve been understood and their views and feelings have been validated. This is half the battle in settling any conflict. And listening is not passive! It takes a lot of effort to discern what’s really being expressed, or even unexpressed. But there’s good news: if we’re serious about it, God will help us become better listeners! Isaiah wrote: ‘The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to hear as the learned’ (Isaiah 50:4 NKJV). Remember the words ‘tongue’ and ‘ear’, and ask God to help you with both.