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I have to stop and observe some wry and sarcastic humor here, but I have learned a great deal about how NOT to communicate just from being on the internet. I have learned a lot from being married too, from doing it all wrong… until you finally get it right. So in times of disagreement:

1. Do not add to the drama and hyperbole by amping up the emotion and exaggerating the problem.

2. Do not EVER equate words, issues, ideas with rape and abuse. Seriously, “you’re raping me with your words” simply must be stricken from our vocabulary. Forever.

3. Do not resort to name calling……while trying to claim and maintain your victim status. ‘You vile, pathetic excuse for a human being, you’re verbally abusing me with your thoughts,’ is just NOT rational.

4. Do not threaten to leave or to take your dollies and go home. If you need a break, take a time out and than come back to the discussion. Do not spend days melodramatically threatening to leave this conversation if people don’t shape up.

5. Do not EVER take anything to facebook. NEVER. Facebook is NOT the great arbitrator of all disagreements.

6. Do not threaten to kick people out of your herd. Do not threaten to lock down, control,or shut out all the people you disagree with. This is called kicking them out of the cool girls club. It’s a tactic that belongs in middle school.

7. “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you and now I’m going to hold my breath until I turn blue” is not what Christ meant by “come unto me like a little child.” Well, He’s the Creator of the universe, He can handle anything, but us flawed humans just assume you have the emotional maturity of a two year old.

8. Don’t label people crazy. NOT EVER. They may be perceiving differently, they may be emotional, they may be acting childish, but they are not crazy.

9. Do not try to bury people with your words. You cannot actually suffocate someone by drowning them in endless words and emotion. The one who uses the most words does not WIN the debate.

10. Do not stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to listen. If you are attempting to converse with someone, it is a two way street. If you do not wish to listen to anyone,than you should probably withdraw to a secluded location and start talking to your own self.

From attempting to communicate with random strangers on the internet, people who in theory have little emotional investment in the relationship, I have come to the conclusion that the reason why we have so much trouble with marriage is because we have completely lost our communication skills. I’m not sure we ever had great skills to begin with, but we do seem to be going backwards here.

Also, never ask IB how to “win friends and influence people.” Not only do I not have those skills, I seem to have little interest in developing them.

boldly flee