The Illusion of Communication

Contributor:  Kimmy Watkins

I have always felt I am a great listener, counselor, and encourager.  I have even been complimented on these skills. However, over the past two years while working in the marriage ministry, the Lord has given me opportunities to see things from a different perspective.

I have found that as a person I am drawn to people who speak the same language as I do.  We think alike, understand each other, and intuitively know each other.  These are the people that I surround myself with, so things are naturally wonderful and effective communication takes place.  Then there are the times that I struggle to communicate with the people that I work with professionally, in ministry, and even family members. Of course we talk, but things don’t go as smoothly as I would hope.  I say one thing, and they think another and visa versa. I always leave these conversations wondering if what I wanted to say was heard or was it misunderstood. Then I spend hours analyzing each word said to figure out why I was misunderstood. When this continues to happen, I tend to avoid that person because communicating with them is so difficult.

But then there are times when you find this really amazing person who you want to connect with and understand, but it just doesn’t happen.  It seems the more you try to connect, the more you push that person away.  It’s like you are speaking a different language. What makes matters worse is if this person is your spouse or child.  What do you do?  How do you connect and get through to them? You expect to have some trouble with the opposite sex, but not with someone from the same sex.

God has been teaching me through Love and Respect and other marriage studies, that men speak blue, and women speak pink.  We are not wrong, just different.  If you want to connect with your spouse, you must decode.  This is hard when you don’t even know what their language is.  What happens when this is a child or friend of yours?  You are expected to speak the same language, but you don’t.

My daughter has been telling me that I don’t listen to her.  I tell her that I hear every word she says.  She then proceeds to tell me that if I heard her, I would do what she asked me to do.  I always get this glazed look on my face and proceed to tell her that I did exactly what I thought she wanted.  She then raises her voice (like I can’t hear her) and tells me that I didn’t. To make matters worse she tells me that I always try to make it all about me. If I loved her, I would listen to her, and do exactly what she wants. When I don’t, it makes her feel that I don’t know or care about her because I don’t listen.  I have tried and tried to fix this problem to no avail.  This weekend I was working on marriage ministry activities and opened a book on 25 ways to tell your wife that you love her.  There it was,  “Listen to her and communicate.”  I thought this is exactly what my daughter is trying to tell me.  Then it hit me, this is what men go through when they try to talk to their wives. I get it. This is so frustrating.  God revealed to me that I was not hearing her heart’s cry.  I heard all of her words and could tell them back to her, but I was missing the meaning.   I was missing her heart.  I was failing to decode. I continued to read the tips presented in the book and God revealed to me that: I need to be quiet, put all distractions aside, look her in the eye, and listen to not only her words, but also her tone of voice, body language, and most importantly for her heart.  What is it she is really saying to me?  Then I am to encourage her, uplift her, assist her when possible, and step back when needed. I must really focus on her and give her my upmost attention to be successful at this.

Men these are the things you must also do when speaking with your wife.  Listen for her heart’s cry.  What is she really saying to you?  You will have to study her, focus on her, and give her your undivided attention to learn the language she is speaking.  Then pray and ask God to tell you how to communicate with her.  Most of all, encourage her and uplift her with positive words of affirmation.  I hope this helps you begin to decode the language of your wife.

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