As we travel, Robert and I grab every opportunity to talk with husbands and wives about their marriages. We usually start the conversation by asking what “best practices” they’d recommend to newly-weds. The two most prevalent responses are:
Is communication a challenge in your marriage?
Oh, we agree whole-heartily that laughter is the best “reset” button in marriage. Finding the humor in an uncomfortable situation is a gift you can give your spouse.
Communication is a more difficult subject.
To each couple, communication means something unique.
To each couple, at each different season in a marriage, communication is packaged differently.
“the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else”
We’ve been on the road, traveling in our F150 and Open Range Light Fifth Wheel for eight weeks.
For two months our environment has been ever-changing, and how we behave and respond to constant new stimuli has created some communication difficulties for Robert and me.
Yes. Communication has been a challenge. (Hah! And we thought after 30 years we had this communication th-aaa-ng down pat! Not.)
Here’s a simple, real-time illustration:
We were in a store, considering a good deal on a case of water bottles, and Robert suggested buying a few cases to take with us in the Fifth Wheel.
He asked, “What do you think?”
I shook my head back and forth negatively, and said one word in response, “Weight.”
He looked at me, puzzled, and slightly annoyed, “But this is a good deal – and we’ll need them! We should buy them now.”
I got a bit defensive, because we’d had the conversation of being aware of the items we’re carrying. Every extra pound means we’re towing more, and that costs money for gas. (There’s a reason our Fifth Wheel is called “Light”!) I thought he’d forgotten that conversation…
With a little more discussion (and some huffs & puffs) we realized he had heard me say “wait”. He thought I was telling him we should wait before purchasing despite the opportunity to save money, and I thought he was ignoring our decision to carry less weight.
By using only one word, (weight) I’d started a snowball of annoyance.
Once we realized our mis-alignment, we laughed.
Laughter reset our mood, so we could learn from our faux-pas. And then we found a solution:
More words are necessary in this season of everything-new!
Give More To Communicate Clearly
Perhaps communication has always been a challenge in your relationship. Or maybe you have had years of great communication, but all at once you’re missing the mark with each other, and because of the discomfort, you actually spend less time talking… (That can become a slippery slope – all down-hill!)
Regardless the situation or season, maybe your spouse needs more to truly understand what you are trying to communicate:
- more relevant, descriptive words
- more respectful body language (from you)
- more illustrations
- more metaphors and similes
- more visual cues that you are listening to what he/she is saying
- more analogies and stories
- and possibly, more time to process the idea/concept
Are you providing all your spouse needs to understand what you’re trying to communicate?
Communication is essential to encourage your spouse…
Don’t give up. Give more!
What “more” can you give your spouse? I challenge you!
Want some more ideas to create clear communication?
Read this post – it begins with a hilarious story about a farmer who wants a divorce…