Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Communication Skills

To some, communication is a dreaded word.  Feared even.  To others, who are practicing it regularly, it can sometimes just seem a minor inconvenience.  I would love to find the person who tells me that communication is EASY.  I'm not just talking about spewing forth your feelings in a raging outburt, with no thought for how the words will be taken by the hearer.  I'm curious if there are any COUPLES specifically that think that communication is the easiest part of their marriage.  For most of us, I would venture that communication in and of itself is the most difficult aspect of making a marriage work.  Kris and I can communicate left and right.  Especially on the little things, or even spiritual matters.  Even about our past.

But when it comes to resolving actual conflict, we don't do it right.

We don't know how to resolve conflict EFFECTIVELY.

Don't get me wrong.  We EVENTUALLY get around to resolving it, as it is something we are both committed to.  But there are times when we resolve conflict simply because we are committed to one another and our marriage, and not because we have somehow magically figure out how to communicate effectively.

For me, there is a lot of sarcasm involved.  It's always been that way, and while I am striving to hold my tongue more, I fail 9 times out of 10.  I fly of the handle so quickly, and if I am feeling really passionate about something (even if it is something good) my voice will rise, and I end up yelling.

For example, Abbey came out into the living room crying on Sunday afternoon.  Mothers will understand this far better than those who are men, or who do not yet have children.  When someone hurts your child, don't you just want to throttle whoever has done the hurting?  It doesn't matter who has hurt your child.  It doesn't even matter if your child is in the wrong!  If you make my kid cry, you're going to wish I had never laid eyes on you!!  That's my initial response internally.

As mothers, it is built into us to protect our children at all costs.  Yes, we have to draw the line somewhere and make boundaries so that we don't go tearing the eyes out of any kid or sometimes parent who looks cross-eyed at our kids.

Am I the only one that feels this way?

So, Abbey is crying, telling me about something that Kris said.  Kris had good intentions, and was trying to teach Abbey something.  It was even Biblical.  But when I saw her crying, the hackles went up and I went into full on "mama bear" mode.  I was furious that someone made my daughter cry. I didn't care what the reason was either.  In that moment, my heart hurt for my child and someone was going to pay.

Unrestrained, as I can't master EVERYTHING at one time, I asked (I'm sure none too kind) Kris to come into the living room.  Mama Bear took over, in an effort to avenge and protect my dear bear cub. I was feeling quite passionate about the topic we were discussing, so my voice naturally raised.  In fact, I didn't even know I was yelling until Kris defensively said, "I feel like you're yelling at me right now."

Well, that shut me up.

How could I argue with the man?  I WAS yelling.  It wasn't at him, so much as the situation.  I wasn't even angry with him.  He had a right, as the spiritual head of our household, to instruct Abbey on the issue that had brought her to tears.  But that didn't change the fact that he made my kid cry.

It isn't just when I'm upset about something.  If I am excited about something, I tend to talk faster and louder.  It's about passion, not anger.  I was feeling very passionate about the topic we were discussing, and while I wasn't even intending to create conflict (though we did share different opinions), my raised voice and tone implied to Kris that I was angry with him.

Does that sound like effective communication to you?

So at this point, what can I say?  Nothing.  I sat there, saying nothing.  Kris thought I was mad and ignoring him, when on the inside, in my mind, I was trying very hard NOT to say anything.  Because I knew that if I opened my mouth, yelling would pour forth from my lips.  It's a tough spot to be in.  If I  cannot communicate with Kris without yelling, I don't communicate at all.

Long story short, we finally resolved it, and I was able to express my need to protect my child, no matter what the cause was.  We came up with a game plan to resolve the issue with Abbey, and I think that Kris and I understood one another a little bit better.

So, as we go along in this journey towards being a healthy, happily, GODLY married couple, we are learning.  We are growing.  We don't communicate effectively all the time.  Sometimes (like me with math word problems), we take the long way.  But we always get to the same place in the end.  So that is something.  To know, even in the midst of frustration and mis-communication  we will eventually resolve the conflict and have peace in our home.  Because we are committed to it and to one another.  I am not sure that we will ever perfect communication on this earth.  I am not sure it's possible, as long as we are human.  But we can grow, and we can learn and each day come one step closer to better communication.

What about you?  Is communication easy for you?


  1. communication is the one thing me and Steve still have issues with.

    1. I think it is something that we will always have to work at improving.