Communication is one of the most difficult aspects of a relationship. There are so many levels and intricacies that can foul up even the most mundane of situations till it becomes a huge mess. A single, tiny misunderstanding can uproot even the strongest relationships.
What you say and do is important, but how you say and do things is equally important. Ah, the fickle finger of subtext, how it wags and indicts! For example, if you apologize, and don’t come across as genuinely sorry, you are cooked, my friend. If your demeanor does not match your words when you profess your feelings, you will come across as less than honest, shady even. And this is bad. You need to be clear in your words and deeds to know that you are being heard correctly, otherwise things get lost in translation.
The worst part is, you may never even know there is a miscommunication till it’s too late.
So how can you be sure, you are being received and understood? Well, you can’t. Sorry, that’s just the truth of it. Unless you can get inside someone else’s mind and know exactly how they are hearing, ingesting, interpreting, and understanding your messages, you will never know. You can only do your best and hope.
So here are some things that you can do to help turn the tide in your favor.
1. Pay Attention.
Listening is one of the most important and also most difficult things to do. Most people are never actively listening to anyone. We have so much going on in our heads; a never ending onslaught of information, feelings, sights, and sounds. It’s difficult to add to that the intricacies of someone else’s own onslaught and funnel all their craziness through our filters.
But filter, we must. Take the time to really HEAR what your lady is saying. Don’t spend the moments while she is telling you about her day, searching for an opening so you can interject. Just listen. Clear your mind and open up for her. It will enhance your life immensely when you do less talking, and more listening.
2. Write Stuff Down.
When she tells you things she likes and wants, make a mental note. When you have a free moment, write down what you heard. It is a great list to check back on. You will know the gifts she is hoping you will shower down on her, the little niceties that she wants from you - that peck on the cheek she misses just before you leave, you telling her you love her every day, etc. She will tell you everything you need to know, you just have to listen!
3. Share Her Interests.
Okay, so you are not going to crochet, no matter how hot she is. Fine. But if she is reading a book or watching a TV show, notice what it is. These are the things influencing her decisions and reactions in her daily life. If you know the framework that guides her, you will understand the reasoning behind what she does. You will also be able to have enjoyable conversations, as you will be informed on her level. Take the time, even if it is not interesting to you. This does not mean you must subordinate your life to hers in any way. It just means, take notice. There is power in knowledge and similar interests.
When something happens of any note, say a violent action in the news, a sad song on the radio, or even running out of milk; you will see how she reacts. Look for patterns. When you know how she will react in a given situation, you will know how to react to her. But more importantly, when she reacts to something, measure your own reaction. When you see the difference, you will better understand where she is coming from.
Let’s say something stressful happens at work. She may wail, moan, be angry and cry a lot. You, in the same situation, my pull back into your self, say nothing, and contemplate your next move. Knowing this, you can discuss things with her from a place of enlightened understanding. Ask her what she is feeling. She will tell you, once she is done emoting. Realize that is her way of dealing with the stress, respect it and let her do what she needs. Then you can work together to deal with whatever comes.
Taking the time to listen, watch, and engage with her will improve your relationship on so many levels. Communication is hard, but without it, you stand the very real chance of losing your loved ones, family, and fortunes. It happens every day, and it can almost always be traced back to a small break down in communication, way back down the line, that was left in disrepair. That injury festers and grows like an invisible cancer that will erupt if not diagnosed and treated. Don’t let that happen to your life, my friend. It is not fun.
Go on, be strong!