While I’m sure there are some husbands out there who would love for their wives to stop talking so much, when one or both spouses actually do stop talking, it’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds.
Not-talking leads to distance, miscommunication, misunderstanding and plenty of hurt feelings. When one of you doesn’t share how you’re truly feeling, the other is left to guess, assume or fill in the blanks themselves.
And you don’t always fill in the blanks correctly…
So – my one simple trick to improve your communication is this: Don’t assume! Ask for clarification instead! It only takes a minute, and it can save a WORLD of hurt and misunderstanding.
Recognise How Your Words Can Take on a Life of Their Own
If you’ve been married for any length of time, it probably comes as no surprise to hear that the message you’re trying to share doesn’t always match the message your spouse hears. But what you may not fully realise is just how messed up the message can get as it passes from one of you to the other.
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Here’s a couple of examples:
“Do you want me to pick up something for dinner on the way home?”
Could mean: “You work so hard for our family taking care of the kids all day; you deserve a break. I’ll take care of dinner so you can rest. You’re such a good mum.”
But could be misinterpreted: “You can barely handle taking care of the kids all day. Dinner is too much for you to handle. You can’t take care of your responsibilities. You’re a bad mum.”
Or, “I’m so tired of your cooking. You never make anything I like, and you usually burn it. I’d rather pay someone else to cook than eat your garbage. You’re a failure.”
“Did you take the check to the bank?”
Could mean: “I’m heading that way anyway. I’d be happy to take it if you didn’t already. Just need to know if it still needs to be done.”
Or could be misinterpreted: “You always forget everything. You probably forgot to do this too. I can’t trust you to do anything right. You’re such a failure and a disappointment.”
Or, “Why is our bank account so low? Are you blowing through all of our money again? You’re such a loser. I wish I had married someone else.”
Now, if you and your spouse get along great and talk all the time, simple sentences like these don’t usually cause much drama because you have a solid relationship that allows you to assume the best in each other. But when your relationship is strained, your feelings are hurt, and you aren’t talking, it is so easy to take even the littlest thing and interpret it completely the wrong way! It gets your feelings all hurt for nothing and prolongs the fight much longer than you need to.
Check for Understanding
To prevent misunderstandings, ask for clarification! Make sure that the message you’re hearing matches the message they’re sending.
You might ask:
“What did you mean earlier when you said ______________?”
“Do you think I’m __(lazy, fat, etc)_________?”
“Do you think I’m a good wife/mum/husband/father?”
Hopefully, your spouse will say, “Of course I don’t think those terrible things about you! I think you’re great! Why would you think that?”. Then, you can talk about what was said and get some clarification on what they meant.
I’ve found that many times, something as simple as just knowing what they actually meant can make a huge difference.
Maybe that super hurtful thing he or she said or did really wasn’t hurtful at all. Perhaps it just came out the wrong way. Or maybe he or she really did mean something that felt harsh to you, but was said for a good reason.
There is always the chance that maybe they really are being a jerk. If that’s the case, I’m truly sorry. That really stinks. Hopefully this tip will help make things a bit better, and then one of these articles will help more:
- 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Work on Your Marriage
- 3 Ways To Fight for Your Marriage When You’re Busy and Exhausted
- How Do I Show Respect When My Husband is a Jerk?
- Want to Fix a Broken Marriage? 6 Things You Should Know
Or maybe for women, he is telling you nice things, but you’re really struggling to believe them. In that case, this article is for you: How to Take Every Thought Captive to Christ.
Article supplied with thanks to Equipping Godly Women. About the Author: Brittany is a wife, a mother of three, a writer, author, teacher, and lover of Jesus!