I have to start this series with the topic of communication because I believe that communication is the cornerstone of any good marriage. Without the ability to effectively communicate you can't even begin to work on any other aspect of you marriage. That being said, I think I will probably write a few posts on this topic because it is such a huge part of marriage and there are so many different forms of communication. If I were to try to fit it all into one post it would end up way too long!
Everyone knows that to have a successful marriage you have to have good communication with your spouse, but not everyone knows how to communicate effectively. I know when Colby and I first got married we had no idea how to communicate effectively, we both thought that as long as we talked about something, anything really, we were communicating. It wasn't until we had been married a little over a year and our marriage was falling apart that we realized that we hadn't been communicating at all in our marriage.
As a woman I thought that communication would just come naturally. It's something women are born with right? I mean after all women are reported to speak as much as 3 times more than men each day. One study that I found (although i'm not sure how accurate this study is) said that women can speak around 20 thousand words in a day compared to a man's 7 thousand. Surly in all those words there has to be some good communicating going on right? I'm not so sure.
Communication is not something that just happens when you open your mouth to talk, it is a skill. But it is not a skill that you are simply going to wake up one day and be good at, it takes practice, forethought, effort and all around work sometimes.
Communication is so much more than just the words you speak. If you really stop and think about it, everything you do communicates; how you act, how you walk, how you look, what you say...everything communicates something. One of my favorite shows on tv is "Lie To Me". In this show the main characters are called human lie detectors, they read every single expression, gesture and body movement to determine if a person is telling the truth or not. That show is a perfect example of how everything about you is some form of communication.
Look back to the last argument you had with your spouse. Can you remember remember what your body language was? If you were anything like me there was probably some sighing, a little eye rolling every now and then, you may have had your arms crossed at times and probably interrupted your spouse at least once, or maybe two or three times! Lets take a minute and think about what exactly you and I are communicating to our spouse through each of those actions.
We'll start with sighing. There is no better way to show impatience than with a sigh. Perhaps your spouse has been talking about the same thing over and over and just won't let something go. Or maybe you are just trying to get them to understand your point of view and they just aren't getting it. Naturally, a sigh of exasperation comes out.
How about rolling your eyes? I once heard someone say that when a teenager rolls their eyes at their parents they are telling them with their eyes "You are getting on my last nerve and I really wish you would just shut up!". Could it be possible that when we roll our eyes at our spouse we are telling them the exact same thing? We may be appalled at the idea of saying something like that with our words and never realize that our eyes have been saying it the whole time.
As for crossing your arms, when you do that you are effectively putting a wall up between you and your spouse. I know that when they have hurt you it can be a defense mechanism to want that wall there, but in order to have good communication between the two of you all walls have to be broken down. And it can start with something as simple as uncrossing your arms.
Now my favorite... interruption. It is absolutely disgraceful to interrupt a person when they are still talking. Think about it, as parents we spend so much time teaching our children to not interrupt us when we are talking. Don't we need to take the time to teach them by example when speaking to their other parent? I know, it can be so frustrating to be in the middle of a discussion (doesn't that word sound so much better than argument?!) and your spouse just doesn't seem to get what you're saying! It feels like you have to interrupt them and explain things to them better, but before you do it just stop. Put yourself in their position. How does it feel when someone interrupts you?
I know that each one of these things is completely natural to do, and i'm not about to pretend that i'm perfect and never do any of them. I started this out by saying "if you are anything like me", so I understand the battle to do what's natural. But we have to remember that as christians we aren't supposed to walk in the natural. We have to constantly fight the urges to do what comes natural to us and walk in Christ and live in the super natural!
Now with that in mind, what has your body language been communicating to your spouse?
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