Friday, October 23, 2009

Still Communicating

When we read self-help books and listen to inspirational lectures, (or read the advice on this blog), everything sounds logical and practical. Applying this information, though, is not always so easy.

I look at my husband, Rick, and myself. Married twenty-eight and a half years, fifteen of those that have included an active marriage ministry, and we still have our moments. Fortunately, they are less and less frequent.

I can stand in front of hundreds of people and say, “When you feel the anger rising, take a break, call a time out.” Or, “watch your tone of voice. It will destroy any meaningful words you try to say.”

Do I always apply this advice? Ha ha!! I certainly have the best intentions, but occasionally, usually when I’m out of sorts for one reason or the other (hormones), I don’t follow through.

Thank God, I have a husband with the patience of a saint, who has stuck by me all these years and knows by now when I’m just venting on him. Uggh. I hate that we tend to lash out most at those we love.

Rick and I went into our marriage thinking we were the same. For a number of years, our marriage faced destruction because of this ignorant thinking. Once we realized the truth, (and found God), our marriage settled into harmony and our ministry blossomed.

With most couples (again, there are always exceptions), the woman thinks with her emotions while men use logic. I’m probably at the extreme end of emotional thinking while Rick is at the opposite, extreme end of logical thinking.

I’m grateful for his logic at times. He logically knows that when I go off into a tirade, it’s not personally directed at him. If he holds his tongue, I will unwind and eventually see the light. A sincere, “I’m sorry honey,” from me, followed by a hug and a kiss will diffuse it all.

I, on the other hand, have learned not to expect too much when I ask Rick’s thoughts on an issue. Usually, when I talk about something, I want to hear other opinions and ideas to work through to a solution. Wired by facts and logic, Rick just wants to tell me the solution. He does not want to discuss it for hours or even five minutes.

The first time Rick realized our differences in our thinking might have been when we faced our marriage crisis over 20 years ago. We were arguing about something and he proceeded to tell me how he perceived the situation. I blurted out to him, “Will you quit telling me your facts are more important than my feelings!”

I think the first step in healthy communicating is realizing your differences. We have such high expectations going into marriage but quickly face the harsh reality. Men and women are very different. Learn those differences and don’t let them offend you or interfere with your communication skills.

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