|Marla Taviano is a gifted communicator with a passion for writing and reaching young women with God’s truth. She has written four books for McGraw–Hill, America’s leading educational publisher. She and her husband, Gabe, have two preschool daughters.
Spouse-Speak: A Whole New Language
By Marla Taviano
CBN.com "The Apartment of Babel"
In Genesis 11, everyone on earth is speaking the same language. One day, they all start talking and decide to take advantage of their numbers and common goals. They plan to build themselves a grand city with a fabulous tower that reaches to the heavens. They want to make a name for themselves, to control their own destiny so to speak.
God is not impressed with their self-proclaimed self-sufficiency. He comes down from heaven, confuses their language, and scatters them over the face of the earth. Their city Babel is left unfinished, and we’ve been misunderstanding each other ever since.
Toben and Joanne Heim admit that when they first got married, their apartment might have been called Babel as well. They didn’t understand each other’s language. A typical scenario. Rarely does a marriage start off with the couple sharing a common tongue.
Going into marriage, my friend Tari admits thinking, “My husband will see things my way, and if not, I can easily convince him my idea is best.” Not likely.
You have different thoughts and opinions. You don’t understand each other’s point of view. You don’t pay close enough attention to each other. You hear a message and misinterpret it. Tears and harsh words abound. Feelings get hurt on a daily basis.
You each bring your own experience and prior knowledge to the marriage, not to mention your personality, attitude, and outlook on life.
Miss Communication will be a frequent guest in your home, at least for the first year or two (or six). You won’t mean to invite her over so often, of course. In fact, you probably won’t invite her at all. She’ll show up unannounced and quite unwelcome.
Unfortunately, even though you’ll want to ignore her, you won’t be able to. You’ll have to deal with her until she gets the hint and leaves. But she’ll be back.
Just last night, I asked Gabe an honest and (I thought) unpretentious question. Enter Miss Communication (without even knocking). Gabe immediately became defensive, thinking I was being critical. I tried over and over again to explain myself clearly, to the point of exasperation. I ended up crying and praying silently in another room.
Then I thought of a way to more effectively express my intended meaning. It worked. We talked through it some more, and we resolved the issue and dropped it.
As it turned out, and often does, we actually shared the same opinion and didn’t realize it. Miss Communication—the little twerp. Both of us felt attacked until we got on the same page.
One key to good communication is truly listening to your husband. It’s not easy to do, but it can save you a world of trouble. Someone once said that God gave us one tongue and two ears so we could listen twice as much as we speak. Not a bad theory.
For me, talking is much easier than listening. I often get bored listening to others, but I could listen to myself for hours. Funny how that works. If I want to be a good communicator and wife, I need to listen to what my husband has to say.
When Gabe talks to me, I’m often intent on interrupting him, pointing out his errors, squeezing in my two cents. Never mind his feelings and ideas. When I don’t listen, I’m communicating that he’s not important to me. I can say he is, but it doesn’t mean squat if I don’t show it. Sometimes our ears speak louder than our mouths.
You’ll be missing out on a lot of neat ideas and perspectives if the only person you listen to is you. None of us has all the answers. Once you start really listening to people—namely your hubby—you’ll be surprised at what a great experience it can be.
You’ll eventually get the hang of this whole communication thing. You’ll learn each other’s language—even create a dialect the two of you can share. It takes time though, so hang in there. Language school can be a killer.
More from this author:
The First Year
Wedding Rings and School Books
Adapted from From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife by Marla Taviano, Copyright 2006. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Used with permission.
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