This month’s co-op blog is that of communication. Take a moment and look at communication from LifeonWard and Ryan Ropero’s point of view.
When we (Ward and I) spoke about writing on communication, the first thing that popped in my head was that of communication with my wife. Like most married couples, we at times communicate well and then not so well other times.
I am reminded of a sermon that a friend of mine preached on. Now before you close the tab because I wrote sermon, hear me out and comment your thoughts at the end…
My friend Chad Clark preached from the Bible in the book of Song of Song/Song of Solomon. He started out talking about conflict resolution, but what stuck with me was a little later, when he talked about unmet expectations. We have unmet expectations because we first have expectations that are not communicated or mis-communicated. I don’t know about you, but I am unable to read my wife’s mind…if I could, I don’t know if i would want to.
The truth of the matter is, we seem to expect our significant other to automatically know what we want. If an expectation is not communicated, then you will rarely get it right. If the expectation is mis-communicated such as when one of the parties involved says “I don’t want anything for (insert holiday).” Don’t listen! Then result is unsavory and someone’s feelings are going to be hurt.
All kidding aside, We have to openly communicate with those that we love. I am not sure at what point “mind reading” became a perceived ability in our spouses.
The only way to communicate your expectations to your spouse is to talk. This requires words to pass from your mouth to their ears, and then LISTEN. Yes listen… Listening and hearing are not the same thing. When you listen, you process the information being given. When you hear someone speak, your auditory nerve gets a tickle. Words travel down your ear canal and beat on your ear drum and that’s about as far as it goes.
Like almost everything I write about, I am speaking from experience. I experience both sides of this dance. There are times that I am preoccupied doing something, such as writing or online school. Then there are times that I am telling my wife something and she doesn’t hear the whole thing because she is trying to do too many things at once.
So how do we “fix” this problem. It’s simple, just not easy… you have to set aside time and talk with (notice i didn’t say talk to) your spouse. Try organizing your thoughts before the scheduled event. Then take turns speaking about the day or important matters of the home. I’m not giving you a free pass to attack each other for past issues.
Most of the time in our house, when I am listening, my wife will tell me about her day. When she is finished I jump right in with how we/she can “fix” whatever the issue was. More times than not, she just wants to vent. So I have started asking prior to the conversation if she wants to vent or if she is looking for a solution. Ding, ding, ding… communicated expectations!!!
Start small and work on your day-to-day communication. In each conversation, don’t forget to clearly state your expectations and really listen. As time goes by the two of you will get better, and hopefully the improvements will transition into all aspects of your marriage.