Monday, September 24, 2012

Hear what should be heard

Many experts will tell you that effective communication comprises speaking, listening and processing the information. When these three components are present, it leads the listener to make the right decision and response to what the speaker says.

This is especially true of communication between the husband and wife. There must be one speaking and the other listening for effective communication to happen; not both speaking at the same time, which will be a quarrel or both keeping quiet and listening to the sound of silence, which will be a cold war.

When one speaks and the other listens, it allows and encourages the third component of effective communication to function - the processing of what is said. This is far more important that speaking and listening itself.

It is in this part of the communication process that the listener understands the true context and the essence of what has been said. Too often, because there is inadequate processing of the words said, the listener jumps into a wrong conclusion, makes an inappropriate response and viola, a misunderstanding occurs and a quarrel erupts.

Michelle and I had many painful experiences of poor communication in our early years of marriage. Since I am logical and she is emotional, I often jump ahead of her speech and made wrong conclusions. I did not allow time to properly process the context and essence of what she was trying to tell me.

At other times, Michelle jumped into an emotionally-charged conclusion simply because she did not adequately processed what I meant to say to her.

And even when we allowed time to process the information, there were many instances when we still had many misunderstandings. Those were big and painful mistakes for us. Then, I could not understand why that even allowing time to process the information still did not result in effective communication between us.

Finally, we great advice from one of our friends. He said, "Remember that when your spouse does something good to you, it is intentional. When he or she does something bad, it is unintentional."

The revelation allowed me to understand that far more important than processing what is said, it is to hear what should be heard! This is akin to applying a positive filter to process what Michelle says to me. Knowing that she indeed loves me helps me to filter out all the negatives tones and words, thereby changing my response to her positively. 

So even when Michelle says something that sounds offensive or not so loving to me, the filter I apply helps me to know that she did not intend to hurt me. On the other hand, when she says something good and positive, the positive filter encourages me to thank her for being intentionally good to me.

It worked wonders for us in our communication and in our relationship. Gone are the suspicions and negative perceptions of each other because of wrong processing of words said.

To truly have good and effective spousal communication, we must apply the right filter when we process what is said to us.  We have a choice. It is with this positive filter that we return a positive response, which in turn encourages your spouse to become even more positive. And this fuels more trust and intimacy in the relationship.

Great lovers put on the right filter to hear what should be heard when communicating with their lover!


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