Clear and great communication does take effort, but it is not impossible.
Motion Requires Energy
Is there anything in your life that you’ve accomplished that didn’t take effort? My guess, probably not. Forward motion requires energy to push XYZ, or whatever, forward.
Relationships are no different. I promise you didn’t come out of the womb knowing how to order your favorite hot beverage at Starbucks or at your local barista’s place. Learning to use our words to get or needs met, our expectations filled, is the key to successful interactions.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. You reap what you sow. If you put in the effort and do the hard work of learning new communications skills, you will see results. Don’t wait for the other person to change. You can do this all by yourself. Now, I will say it is much easier when both of you are paddling in the same direction.
If you can get on the same page, communicate your need for change, and your partner understands or hears you then you’ve won half the battle.
We Didn’t Speak
A woman in her early thirties walked up to me after a luncheon and proudly declared, “I didn’t speak to my husband for three days this week.”
I was stunned. Being a woman, especially a woman of many words, I couldn’t imagine not speaking to my husband for three days.
“Seriously.” I squeaked out. My eyebrows nearly reached my hairline. I was surprised and disappointed. I had mentored her about her marriage relationship a few times before. She and her husband were on rocky ground with their communication issues.
She knew I would not think this was a good plan for her marriage. This time could be the tipping point for permanent damage.
Or maybe, this was just the way she wanted to operate within the give and take of their day-to-day interactions. I begin to think, perhaps she likes the drama of it all.
Clear and great communication does take effort, but it is not impossible. Men and women at times do seem to speak different languages. My husband and I call it “manese” and “womanese”.
Lots of books have been written about communication styles, communication, techniques, love languages, how to … now not to, etc. If you get a chance, check out Mark Gungor’s Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.
His take on communication is priceless. especially if you watch his videos. Life changing or some may say life giving. It can breathe new life into a stale relationship where the couple has given up trying to be heard or understood. Gold. It’s marriage (or any relationship) gold, I tell ya!
Communication Takes Work
The truth… people just communicate differently. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female. My husband is not a concrete communicator. He thinks he is communicating perfectly well and myself and our kids often needed to ask him to explain exactly what he wants us to understand.
We have a funny story about wet leaves that is a perfect example. For years, my husband would say, “be careful of the wet leaves.” Now, being a good wife, I would say, “okay.”
Honestly, I had no fear of wet leaves and didn’t have any concern of leaves causing me harm. I didn’t have a clue why he continued to warn me of these dastardly wicked wet leaves.
Finally, after years of his dire warnings, I got fed up and in a fit of frustration yelled something about why should I be afraid of leaves. If I remember correctly my fit became a several minute rant about his years of Dangerous Leaf Weather Warnings.
He waited. Until … with my hands on my hips, I puffed with my last full breath, “why should I be careful of the wet leaves?”
My precious, sweet husband quietly said, “they’re slippery.”
That’s all I could say in response. This precious man cared enough about me to warn me about something I didn’t even realize was a danger. I felt about two inches tall.
Communication: sent and received
That rant happened nearly twenty years ago. We laugh about it but also use it as a reminder that we may not have communicated what we thought we did.
My husband thought by just saying “be careful of the wet leaves”. We would all understand we could slip and fall. None of us did.
The young woman’s silence gained her nothing. Her husband after the three days still had no idea why she was upset. The only thing she had done was alienate him further and continue to keep problems unresolved.
Advice that is old, true, and tried.
Say what you mean and make sure the other person clearly understands what you mean. Of course, always be careful of slippery wet leaves!
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