Listening is vital to effective communication, but being a good listener may be trickier than you think.
We tend to think of communication as talking, but it’s not that simple. We connect with each other in many ways. Communication happens whenever contact is made—verbal or non-verbal.
The problem is that the complexities of communication—especially non-verbal communication—can lead to misunderstandings. This is compounded by the fact partners in a marriage are unique individuals who often see and interpret things differently.
We are created differently by God.
As a couple, your differences fit together for God’s purposes. But you have to resist the temptation to try to make your spouse like you. Instead, try to understand how God made them.
Words, tone of voice, and body language affect a listener’s understanding— whether you’re communicating in person, on the phone, or by text or email.
Filters also affect how effectively we communicate. We each have filters that affect how we understand a message.
Chances are, your spouse wants to know he or she is more important to you than whatever it is you’re talking or disagreeing about.
People and experiences in our past also create personal filters—and many of those personal filters are untrue.
For example, if you grew up feeling like you were never good enough, you’re more likely to read others’ words, tone of voice, and body language as belittling or distrusting. That may not be what the other person is trying to communicate at all, but you are conditioned to interpret it that way—especially during conflict.
It’s important to take the time to do the work necessary to replace your false filters with God’s truth.
Everyone communicates differently.