• Norman Conner

Communication 101

So my wife and I became home owners again and as anyone that has done this knows, moving is tiring and stressful. And when people are stressed, there is a significantly higher chance that a lot of miscommunication will happen. Why? Because moving is stressful and boxes get misplaced and frustration develops because those boxes can’t be found and … (fill in the blank ______ ). This not only occurs during moving, it happens in everyday life. We get stressed at our jobs, at our kids, and at our pets. We get stressed over finances, over traffic, and over situations we can’t control. And again, when we get stressed, it’s easy for miscommunication to happen because we say things we really don’t mean or don’t think through. We snap at those that are closest to us because well, they’re close to us and I guess deep down we know they will forgive us. So needless to say, even though we have a great marriage, during our move, our communication wasn’t always positive.

As much as stress may cause miscommunication, in my humble opinion, technology can be a communication killer. Technology being mainly the use of cell phones and texting. We’ve known for years that if something was important to talk about, we would never do it over email much less through texting. You may not agree with me, but I truly believe texting is the worst way to communicate when the discussion is anything of value. Buying a car or house requires a couple sitting down and talking it through, not texting one another over every single decision. The bigger issue with texting though is that emotions and feelings are misunderstood. We can’t hear what the other person is really trying to emphasize so we can put the emphasis of the text on what we think is trying to be said, from our perspective, rather than what is really being said by the person sending the text. I’m not old-fashioned and believe that we should never text, I text all the time BUT I would never argue through a text. I would never make an important decision without specifically talking to my wife. This is one of my biggest fears about young couples that have grown up by communicating through text. Another form of technology that is a killer is social media. It’s crazy how people use social media to hurt one another. It’s also a cowardly way to deal with pain. I could go on, but I think you get the idea about how technology can be used to kill communication.

This brings up relationships in general. Are we honest when we speak to people? Do we tell people how we really feel or are we afraid of hurting their feelings? Can we gently disagree with people and still be friends? It really is worth looking in the mirror and asking ourselves if we could be better communicators, especially with our significant other or our spouse. There is so much more that could be said (pun intended) but I want to close this blog by sharing some practical steps and advice from Prepare/Enrich:

Communication creates intimacy and is the basis for all other relationship skills. Here are the keys to good communication:

- Give your full attention

- Be assertive

- Practice active listening

- Use "I" statements (I feel ____, I want ____, I need ____)"I" statements attribute responsibility to the speaker for his/her own perceptions and feelings.Avoid criticism, judgment, and blame

Apply it: Set aside 5 minutes each day in which you and your partner converse about:

- What you most enjoyed about your relationship that day

- What was most dissatisfying about your relationship that day

- How things could be made better for each of you

So please just try the above application for this week and see if it helps your relationship and marriage. Put your phones down and actually talk to one another.

For more on communication:

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