You will relate to this post. Guys and gals seem to speak different languages. Why do we do this? How can we conquer the miscommunication trap?
Read guest blogger Tim Riter’s post.
Lori & Becky
Just a simple statement of fact—“Tim, the sprinkler needs adjustment; the spray is hitting the kitchen window.”
An unusually heavy wind had blown it onto the window. I replied with a typical masculine near grunt, “OK, I’ll clean the window.”
That frustrated Sheila—she wanted the sprinkler adjusted.
The resulting silence frustrated me—I’d fixed the problem!
Hours later I summoned the courage to ask the question every husband fears, “Are you OK? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m just fine.”
That “fine” had the cut of stress that proclaims, “No I’m not fine, you should know I’m not and why I’m not.”
Wives, do you wonder why your otherwise intelligent and capable husband can be so dense at times?
Husbands, do you wonder why your wife can’t just say what she wants?
The difference flows from one key issue: primarily because of brain structure, we process information differently and therefore communicate in alien manners.
Research reveals that women tend to have more verbal skills and can pick up nuances in conversation, various layers of meanings, and nonverbal cues better than men. They excel at indirect communication where the meaning isn’t obvious and direct but implied. It can be more polite and less confrontational, but some receivers (yeah, husbands usually) may miss the meaning.
Like I did on the sprinkler.
Have you noticed how accurately women complete the statements of other women? It doesn’t work as well in the other direction.
Problems arise when using effective feminine styles with masculine spouses. Men tend to not do nuance well, think of it as a foreign language to most of them.
So… what’s the solution?
Take a look at the apostle Peter’s take on effective communication, but don’t react too strongly at the last word until I explain it: “Whoever would love life and see good days (or, have a happy marriage) must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech” (1 Peter 3:10, NIV).
Let me define deceitful speech as seen from the viewpoint of the receiver.
If getting the message requires a skill the receiver doesn’t have, then important information is not being passed on, the receiver cannot interpret the fullness of the message, and the incomplete information doesn’t allow him to understand what the sender wishes.
Unneeded friction and stress and dissatisfaction.
So…two simple tips:
Ladies, be clear. Like Jesus suggested, let your yes be yes and your no be no (Matthew 5:37, NIV). Try not to assume we get it the meaning below the meaning of the words.
Guys, try to probe a bit. Instead of taking the comment at face value, try to put it in your own words to her satisfaction. Trust me, you’ll benefit from it.
A closing question or two:
How has your recent communication been misinterpreted? What can you do to be more clear?
Blend together over two decades as a pastor, nearly as much as an educator, an author of nine published books, an inveterate motorcyclist, Masters’ degrees in both Ministry and Communication, and you get an unreconstructed Jesus freak, a husband and grandfather, and someone with a hunger to help others build a radical passion to know God and be transformed to look more like Jesus. Click her for Tim’s Unconventional blog where he shares weekly posts with a unique slant on spiritual formation.
Head over to Amazon to check out Tim and Sheila’s book, Twelve Lies Wives Tell Their Husbands