I wonder how many times I have been told in my counseling sessions, “I just do not understand my spouse.” Or maybe when I ask the question “What is your number one issue in your marriage?” The answer is “Communication.” Now I might think that is ironic in our day and age. We have the ability to communicate with people through phone, text messaging, e-mails, Skype or Face-Talk, or many other avenues including Voxing…not to mention Facebook or Twitter. (I just named a few, so if you use others don’t think I’m leaving something out on purpose.) Yet in our world of instant communication and instant information, couples struggle truly connecting with each other because they do not know how to communicate.
Personally I believe that texting is one of the worst things that has happened to communication. You have 160 characters, unless you use an iPhone, to communicate your message. There is no voice inflections, no facial features to be seen, and unless you text back and forth, no real room for questions and explanations. Yet it seems that a great deal of communication between couples is through texting.
Now today is not about the negatives of using modern technology as I communicate a great deal with each of the before mentioned avenues. But it is about making sure that there is more to your communication than just technology. Over the next couple of days I will be addressing some major communication issues that we face in our marriages as well as other relationships.
Let’s just start with some basic information. In order to truly communicate with each other, you must TALK. Now that might sound silly, but you would be surprised at how little individuals talk to each other. I have not actually done any research in this field, but every day as I counsel with couples it seems that their work schedules along with their children’s schedules, they have very little time to talk to each other. I know many couples that take separate vehicles to the same place most of the time. In the car can be a time that a couple can talk. Also during the evening hours, couples watch TV or do chores around the house. I know that I am guilty of being on my iPad or iPhone in the evenings when I could be talking to my wife. (Lisa, please forgive me.) Something that seems to be insignificant at times is just talking, but it is very important.
The second issue that I want to address is eye contact. I used to watch Leave it to Beaver all the time. One of the things that I remember was that June would be washing dishes and Ward would be reading the paper all the while they would be talking to each other. If something was said that truly caught Ward’s attention, he would look over the edge of the paper to make sure he understood what was said. That is not good communication. In order for good communication to take place, you must be looking at each other. So much is “said” with the eyes that it is important to be able to see the eyes of both the speaker and the listener. Make sure the TV, paper, chores, or technology is not distracting you so that your communication skills can improve.
How much are you and your spouse communicating each day? Is that communication uninterrupted? The challenge for each of us is to make sure we carve out time to talk to our spouse on a daily basis. It does not have to be serious communication, but it needs to be daily and uninterrupted. More tomorrow on how to better communicate with your spouse.
Proverbs 16:24 (NASB)
24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.