One of the most fruitful ministries at our church over the last few years has been the biblical counseling ministry. We have seen lives that were previously overloaded with sin and hurt turn into committed lives of loving service to Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word, individuals with no hope and marriages that would surely end in divorce saw radical change as they repented and started believing God’s promises. Part of this ministry is our emphasis on giving homework to the people we counsel. One of the assignments we give to married couples is practicing The Four Rules of Communication (acquired through the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors), which has benefited my marriage significantly as well. I have listed the four rules below, but if you’re interested I can send you the full pdf with explanations and references, just leave me a comment with your email address.
The rules are based on Ephesians 4:25-32.
I. Be Honest (v. 25) – Involves what you say and what you don’t say.
II. Keep Current (Eph. 4:26-27) – Even righteous anger can become sinful anger when it’s not dealt with quickly. Solve your problems today!
III. Attack the Problem Not the Person (v. 29-30) – Put off words that tear the person down and put on words that build him/her up.
IV. Act, Don’t React (Eph. 4:31-32) – Reaction is usually impulsive, fleshly and unplanned. Taking action involves thinking things through and bringing God into the equation.