Communication is important. Words matter, but so does tone, and intent. How do you marry words, tone, and intent to support fun communication? Use the values you and your spouse live!
What values are you holding high when you communicate with your spouse? And how does it affect your family? Stop with the overwhelming seriousness, and choose to live with a bit of fun communication.
When your spouse calls on the telephone, how do you respond? What about when you first see your spouse – in the morning, at supper, or after a business trip? How does your spouse – and your family – know what’s behind your words?
What’s behind the words?
Forget the specific words. What emotion or feeling is behind them? Are you anxious and annoyed, or enthusiastic and excited? Are you serious – or do you sound bored?
The shift to misunderstanding is subtle and often happens without us even noticing, especially if we’re not deliberate in our values, and in living our values as husband and wife.
- Maybe we disagreed on what to eat for dinner or what restaurant to visit. Oh, well.
- Someone forgot to pick up milk and bread. Suggest eating cake!
- Maybe your spouse overlooked an important event for a family member. Invent a new event!
- Or worse yet, forgot your birthday or anniversary. Make it a month-long celebration.
These are not critical or life threatening issues. It’s just part of everyday living. Not-so-nice things happen. How we respond is where the rubber meets the road.
Respond to issues with your values in mind. Especially those which promote fun communication.
When you’re choosing your values – keep communication in mind.
Lori and I have chosen three differentiating values by which to live our lives. They’re Loyalty – Optimism – Discovery.
The value which has the greatest impact on our communication is optimism. In the ebook we wrote together, “Discover Your Differentiating Values – a Guide and Workbook for Couples”, there’s a section at the back we call our personal manifesto on the values we live. Here’s part of what we say about Optimism, and how we choose to live it.
On Optimism: When a decision in word or deed is necessary, we work to be optimistic regardless of the price. Not all of life is positive. (I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to you, does it?) Some stuff that happens can be really lousy and decisions from these lousy situations are a grouping of highly priced options – there’s no clear winner. Regardless of the price which comes from the decision we make – we will frame it in our hearts, words, and memories in a positive light. Even if the only positive we can find is deciding we learned something.
I’m sure there are those who find our deliberate optimism disingenuous. Or annoying. But it’s a value-choice we’ve made for our life and we strive to live it. Choosing to be optimistic has brought us much joy, even in the face of what others would name as disaster.
We’re optimistic when we speak with others when we speak with each other, and we try to be optimistic even in prayer. Does it come naturally? No. But it’s worth it!
What other values would support great communication?
Consider these values if you’re building a great way to communicate:
Not surprisingly, couples who embrace the value of cheerfulness possess something extra to deal with the normal challenges of life – especially when communicating.
The Value of Cheerfulness
As a differentiating value,
Cheerfulness means noticeably happy and optimistic; bright and pleasant.
Some may view this as a Pollyanna principle and fake. Those individuals don’t understand the power of this value. We all live through times of adversity, hardships, and challenges. And when they occur, they can affect us physically, mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually.
A cheerful spouse can remind us that we don’t have to face problems alone. And our cheerful husband/wife can give us a different perspective that leads us to see the positives in every challenge.
Will being cheerful always be easy? No.
Attitude is a Choice.
If our attitude, like the values we live by, is under our control, why not pick good ones?
Far too often we take ourselves too seriously, and everything we go through can appear a life or death situation. Lighten up! What if we burn the toast, or dent the car, or fail to remember to pick up the dry-cleaning. Life is not over as you know it!
How much of our life is really that serious?
Being cheerful can help us put everything back into perspective.
However, I must acknowledge – there are limits. As Lori often reminds me: no singing in the morning!
How can the value of cheerfulness benefit your marriage?