Chapter Four - Desire Of Your Heart

5. Set Good Ground Rules

I don’t call Joy before 10 a.m. She is not a morning person. Actually, neither am I. I have to get up at 6 a.m. if the kids are going to be on time for school, so I don’t call her early. She knows I’ll let voicemail pick up during dinner and homework, so she waits until the little ones are in bed before calling.

Out of understanding the need for healthy boundaries, we work around each other’s needs, likes, and dislikes. I mind my manners with Joy and treat her with a lot of respect and deference. She has earned it and deserves it. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches (Ga 6:6). She is cognizant and appreciative of my unspoken effort.

6. Speak the Truth in Love

Because I am forthright, sometimes my spicy words need to be tamed with diplomacy. There’s nothing wrong with being straightforward and honest, but pepper it with being blunt and caustic, and you will find communications stops.

Joy mentored me in speaking the truth in love. Although Joy doesn’t mind my approach because she doesn’t take offense, she understands how I think. It is difficult to offend Joy and it is difficult to offend me.

We are so civil with each other. In M. Scott Peck’s A World Waiting to Be Born: Civility Rediscovered, he defines civility as “consciously motivated organizational behavior that is ethical in submission to a Higher Power.” He also says thoughtfulness takes time. I’ve seen this in Joy and am integrating this characteristic of thoughtfulness that belies civility in how I think, and it certainly shows in our relationship.

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