This week in my marriage bible study I learn about communication issue! Very interesting as communication between men and women can be defined as ‘hard hard easy’ (susah susah gampang literally translated from Indonesia lol). Judy Rossi, the author, wrote:
‘Sometimes being in a marriage is like being in a foreign country, because communicating with our husbands requires to be bilingual, to learn their language’
The allegory is very true for me therefore that’s the reason I pick the title of the entry this time. For me French and Japanese are amongst the most sophisticated languages in the world haha.. I love to hear the accent yet they sound very complicated, so I kinda imagine what would happen if a Japanese man talking to a French woman (neither speak English) each in their own native language??!!! Calamity!! hahahha….
I guess that will also happen in marriage if we don’t make effort to understand the way our spouse communicates!
Judy listed several general differences in terms of thought process and tasking (keeping in mind that there are always varying degrees of exception), here I only write some that when I read I straightforwardly said aloud in my heart “that’s so true between me and my husband!” 😉 (male in blue, female in pink color)
- Well-developed spatial skills – he acts (makes a good warrior) + Better developed expressive/verbal skills – she talks (makes a good nurturer)
- Excludes what’s going on around him until task is completed + Includes all around her in her tasks
- “Fixer” – wants to do something about a problem + “Feeler” – wants to talk through a problem
- Thinks through feelings, then shares (maybe) + Talks through feelings while thinking
- Talks to exchange information: factual, bottom-line talk + Talks for connection, emotional intimacy, relationships; more detail plus feelings
There are lots more others (like women are multitaskers while men singularly focused – we all know this :P). Reading those points above enable me to understand more as (finally) they give vivid explanation of why I and my husband often do or say things differently (I don’t read “Men are from Mars and Women from Venus :P)
For example, related to point 2, now I get a better pic why it’s difficult to talk with my husband while he’s watching TV! (he simply ‘excludes’ me until his ‘task of watching TV’ done LOL). Or related to point 3, many times when I share things or feelings with my husband, I simply just want him to ‘listen’ or ‘sympathized’, but many times also what he does is he straightaway offers me a solution of how I should ‘fix’ the situation, then I’d think why he just didn’t understand I only wanted to be heard. Another example, related to point 5, I often complained to my husband he didn’t say “I love you” as many as I do hahaha…. then I’d “blame” him that’d mean he didn’t love me as much as I love him 😛 His default answer “you know already that of course I love you, why you need to hear it again?” Well, apparently for him that is not a ‘factual information to be exchanged” while for me, I just love to hear that coming from him first as it builds my emotional intimacy with him.
Well, those are some examples that I could think of from my side of story 😛 I know some of my male friends who naturally aren’t hard to express their feelings, fluent in writing many sort of poems, love letters/cards (my husband really isn’t this kind of man ^^”), and some of my female friends who are more ‘reserved’ about their feelings and much more of a ‘thinker’ person, so again, the above differences may not describe exactly you or your spouse’s communication style.
Yet, you know these differences don’t mean that one is better than the other. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean that he’s wrong. Judy put it this way,
“She has what he doesn’t, and vice versa. As both the husband and the wife learn to bridge both worlds – the language of the head and the language of the heart – they’re able to close the gap between them so that their differences become enhancers rather than destroyers“
I have a confession to make.
Many times I don’t like these differences, and often use them against my husband and demanding him to communicate same language as mine. It was very difficult. I know now after I learn this chapter this week, it is even impossible for him to communicate similarly as me! I have to make conscious effort to learn, understand, accept, and respect the differences and I will not be able to do it unless I receive the power from the Holy Spirit. That is the first commitment I have to make.
Furthermore, good communication requires three things: speaking correctly (watch over words that coming out from my mouth)
Psalms 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips”
Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”
and understanding clearly
Proverbs 13:15 “Good judgment wins favor”
The ‘listening carefully’ part hit me hard.
Through the study God revealed to me many times I complained about my husband didn’t have good listening skills when in fact, my listening skill isn’t excellent either! I find myself sometimes looking at my husband while he’s speaking but hearing nothing because I am busy in my mind with other things and therefore distracted. Other times I am busy forming my own thoughts and not hearing him, or judging what he’s saying rather than hearing his heart. Worst, sometimes I’m focused only on the opportune time to interrupt! I can put these kind of examples of I’m being a poor listener after reading what Judy wrote and then thinking in my heart “o-oh… I actually do those…!”
Now I try to put a conscious effort to evaluate my listening attitude when my husband’s talking. Whenever I realize I’m facing temptation to interrupt (I believe there’s nudge from Holy Spirit too), then I force myself to be silent and keep focus, hold on what I have to say until he finishes. I desire to do this to every person I’m talking too. After studying God’s truth, I really want this verse to be alive in me:
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” – James 1:19-20
I admit this is hard. Challenge is, I’m a talker, I love to talk. It’s like what I do is the opposite of this verse! (slow to listen, quick to speak, quick to become angry)… phewwww….
Lord, please help me to put Your words into practice!
I now understand that listening with intent takes discipline (for me lots of it), just as speaking with purpose does (be careful with speaking ’empty words’ – Matt 12:37). And discipline listening requires mostly HUMILITY – to raise my husband above myself and regarding what he says as more important than what I have to say.
“… in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” – Philippians 2:3-4
I’m so glad that God let me know what I’ve done wrong and provided ways to change. Many times it’s hard to deny my own self but when I look back and see God’s works in my heart and life I am always grateful that God made me to walk on hard path because in the end He always brings His good plan in my life. Knowing what I’ve done wrong doesn’t condemn me, it’s making me be more thankful of how much He loves me unconditionally and His grace never end.
See you in my another “revelation post” 🙂