Communication has never been a strength in my marriage.
Sure, we’re working on it. And it’s getting a LOT better. But it isn’t something that comes naturally, by any means. Especially for me.
And while I’m sure there are some husbands out there who would LOVE for their wives to stop talking so much ?, I can assure you that 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. Because 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…
In Four Marriage Communication Skills that Prevent Fights, Gina shares four really solid tips that you definitely don’t want to miss. In this post, I’d like to share one more: Don’t Assume – Ask for Clarification Instead!
It only takes a minute, and it can save a WORLD of hurt and misunderstanding.
1. Recognize 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 does NOT always match the message your husband hears.
But what you may not fully realize is just HOW messed up the message can get as it passes from one of you to the other.
For example: “Do you want me to pick up something for dinner on the way home?”
- “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 mom.”
- “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 mom.”
- “I’m so tired of your cooking. You never make everything I like, and you usually burn it. I’d rather pay someone else to cook than eat your garbage. You’re a failure.”
Another example: “Did you take the check to the bank?”
- “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.”
- “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.”
- “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 husband 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 relationships 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! Getting your feelings all hurt for nothing and prolonging the fight much longer than you need to.
2. Check for Understanding
So how do you prevent misunderstandings? Ask for clarification! Make sure that the message you’re hearing matches the message they’re sending.
- “What did you mean earlier when you said ______________?”
- “Do you think I’m __(lazy, fat, etc)_________?”
- “Do you think I’m a good wife/mom?”
Hopefully, your husband 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 he 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 said or did really wasn’t hurtful at all. It just came out the wrong way. Or maybe he really did the wrong thing, but it was for a good reason.
And if this is the case — you can save yourself a LOT of heartache by taking a minute (either at the time or later) to clarify and make sure you’re understanding correctly.
Alternately, maybe he really is 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 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.
Do you and your husband ever have miscommunications and misunderstandings? What do you regularly have misunderstandings about? Do you think asking for clarification would help?