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Welcome back to week 41. We hope the past week has been a blessed one for you. Last week we briefly examined how to deal with sin in the counseling session. This week we will briefly consider how to develop good communication patters for couples. In order to accomplish this task, we will give examples of actual homework assignments. Not only can you gain understanding by reading, or even doing, the assignments, you will have them to give to others.

Homework for Session 1[1]

A. Consider the consequences when people do not communicate effectively. (Get a separated sheet of paper handy).

  1. Read the following verses and note the consequences of poor communication: Prov. 18:17; Matt. 5:23-26; 1 Cor. 14:33, 40; Prov. 18:13; Amos 3:3.
  • Consider what Matt. 5:22-25; 7:1-5; 18:15, 21-22; 1 Pt. 3:8 have to say about maintaining good communications and relationships. List at least 10 truths learned.
  • List the personal insights and challenges you have received from studying the passages in numbers two and three, be personal and specific. List at least 10 insights and/or challenges learned.

Homework for Session 2

  1. Make a list of personal topics that you can share with trusted, godly people (at least 10 topics). 
  • Practice makes perfect so practice communicating with someone every day. Keep a daily log of whom you communicated with, when you communicated, and what you communicated about. Evaluate the effectiveness of your communication efforts (e.g., excellent, good, fair, poor). 
  • Make a list of communication helps found in the following verses: Eph. 4:15, 25-27, 29, 32; 5:33; Ps. 141:3; Isa. 8:10, 20; 50:4; Prov. 5:18, 19; 12:25; 15:1-2; 15:28; 20:5, 15; 31:26.
  • List the personal insights and challenges you have received from this study. Be personal and specific and give at least 10 insights and/or challenges.[2]

Homework for Session 3

  1. Make a list of hindrances to good communication found in the following verses: Eph. 4:25, 29, 31; Col. 3:8, 9; Prov. 11:12-13; 12:16, 18; 15:1, 5; 16:27; 17:9; 18:2, 6, 8, 13, 17, 23; 19:1, 5; 20:19, 25; 25:24; 26:18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 28:2; 29:20, 21.
  • When you examine your effectiveness as a communicator what hindrances (i.e., things to be eliminated) do you find yourself practicing in light of the passages above?
  • Ask someone, who is well known to you, what you can do to promote better communications.
  • List personal insights and challenges you have learned from this study. Be specific with your list. 

Homework for Session 4

  1. Keeping Phil. 1:3 and Prov. 31:28-29 in mind –keep a record of times when you expressed concern and appreciation for the ideas, desires, interests, feelings, and actions of others this week.
  • List several occasions when you have admitted to others that you were wrong or asked for forgiveness and describe the circumstances.
  • Make a record of some people you have criticized and what you criticized them for. Next, write down what the Bible says about critical anger and abusive words in the following verses. Also, write down how you frequently sin in your speech: Prov. 10:12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 32; 11:9; 12:6, 16, 18; 13:3; 14:17, 29; 15:1, 4, 18, 28; 16:27-28, 32; 17:9, 14, 27-28; 18:6-8, 13, 17, 21, 27; 19:19.
  • List the personal insights and challenges you have received from this study. Be specific.

We hope our short time considering the development of good communication patterns was helpful. Lord willing, next week we will briefly consider the important topic of cooperation. Should we work cooperatively with a physician or psychologist in the counseling process? Until then may our Lord bless you and keep you.

[1] Adapted from: Wayne A. Mack, A Homework for Biblical Living (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, 1979), 23-36.

[2] Specificity encourages thought, accountability, and righteousness. It also reveals if a counselee is willing to put in the effort needed for biblical change. Sin festers in vagueness and secret (John 3:20).

Foundations of Biblical Counseling: Dealing with Sin in Counseling Foundations of Biblical Counseling: Cooperation