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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Not On The Same Page?

There have been times when my wife has said that we just aren't communicating at all.

We're talking, but it's like we're speaking different languages.

It gets frustrating for both of us, because everyone wants to be heard, but when we're not on the same page, it's just not happening. We're exercising oratorical skill in an empty lecture hall.

This is a recurring season that happens in every marriage; but that can be really hard to believe when your're courting.

In those halcyon days, every word that passes your beloved's lips is a drop of wisdom-nectar to be cherished, savoured, and remembered.

But after a few weeks of marriage, we start to forget them. And then we may forget why we thought we understood this individual in the first place.

But it is a season, and seasons pass.

Which doesn't make the question go away...how do you deal with communication that just doesn't work?

First, accept that this does happen. It will get better. And then it will happen again.

Second, don't try to force it. When we run into folks whose command of English is limited, we tend to try to make ourselves understood by speaking loudly. Sounds stupid, and it is, but most of us do it anyway.

Don't do it to your spouse. Speak your case, and let it go. You won't push understanding, and if you try, you'll only build resistance.

Third, listen more carefully. We change over time, and so do the nuances of our speech. I was once loud and confident; now I'm a lot quieter, and very, very reserved. For my wife it's a bit like being married to a whole 'nother person...and I have changed. I really am a whole 'nother person, and we have to meet somewhere in my difference...and hers.

Fourth, observe. What is your husband or wife reading, what do they prefer to watch on television, what kind of music do they listen to? The messages and images we ingest are both an indicator of where our hearts and minds are, and a predictor of where we're going.

Fifth, don't pull away. If talking doesn't work, okay, but don't quit holding hands in church, or walking around the block. Don't withhold hugs. Don't shy away from sex, if it's mutually desired.

Sixth, remain loyal. Do NOT complain to anyone (except a therapist) about the perceived distance that's opened up, because stuff like this tends to find its way home,..and back to your spouse's ears.

It's not fun. You work so hard to be a good mate...and this stuff isn't fair.

No. But it is life.

And if you give it a chance, and some care, it will pass.

If you have a chance, please visit my other blog, Starting the Day with Grace. You'll find a "grace quote" from a source you might not have expected, and a short commentary.

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