The Key to Connecting with Others
Do you think you are communicating well? Do you feel connected to other people? Have you ever said these kinds of phrases before?
“When we talk, it seems as if we are complete opposites.”
“When I talk to them, I just feel like they are staring at me without listening. It is as if they aren’t really paying attention to what I am saying and are somewhere else.”
“When we are in an argument, they just stop talking to me. They don’t want to tell me how they feel about the situation.”
There are three fundamental ways to receive and understand information:
- Visual stimuli
The people who understand information and work through it with emotion will use phrases such as this:
“I feel like…”
“In my spirit, it seems…”
“I want to soak this in…”
This is a highly effective way of communicating because the person is telling you exactly what they are feeling. They might not even understand why they are feeling it at that moment. But it is great to know, try to communicate and process the feelings together as a team.
People who use intellect to process situations will most likely sound like this:
“I know what we should do….”
“I think that it would be great if….”
“I believe that they….”
Being an intellectual processor is not a bad thing; it just has a different quality about it.
The third and final way that people will process information is visual. These are the ones who will actually picture the situation in their heads. Their phrases could be like:
“I see it this way…”
“I envision the situation as so….”
“I figure they could….”
Knowing what kind of a processor your spouse is, is extremely important. What you do not want to do is approach your spouse like they are emotional, when actually they are intellectual. It is not that they do not have feelings; they just do not process with them.
We know it is easy to try and connect with your spouse the way that you try and connect. Sometimes, we don’t all process the same way though, and in your relationship or marriage, you must keep that in mind. If you take the effort to actually listen to your spouse and understand what they are trying to say, communication will flow much more smoothly for both of you.
The Crucial 5 Steps to Communicating and Listening in Marriage
James 1:19b “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
The reason we married our spouses is because we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with them. Ofcourse we want to be able to connect properly with them! Yet it sounds so much simpler than it is. We all have our fault about us. The book of James points out that we speak too soon and don’t listen enough. Most people in relationships do the exact opposite. There are many people who have tried to warn over the years besides James:
- St. Francis of Assisi: “Grant that I may not so much seek to be understood, as to understand.”
- Paul Tillich: “The first duty of love is to listen.”
- Diogenes: “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”
Thinking about the process of listening and properly communicating, there are five suggested steps that could be tried and taken when in such situation:
1. Listen to your spouse when they are talking, instead of thinking about what you are going to say back to them when they are done.
2. Try envisioning how your body is portraying how you are thinking. If you are sighing, acting bored, seem distracted, or any other kind of obvious tell tale sign, make sure you focus back on your spouse. The body language could make your partner feel silly for even trying to express their feelings.
3. Sometimes there can be a miscommunication. We have all been there. Before you actually start talking about what you think in your head, ask your spouse for clarification.
4. When you are not feeling well tempered, afraid, and might say something to regret later, pray. It can be tough to stop all of your emotions and ask for help from the Lord, but it is the best thing to do in this situation.
5. Some people need time to think about what you have just talked about. Your spouse might need extra time to think over everything you have talked about. This is not a bad thing. This is just how they process certain situations. Giving your spouse that time will help immensely.
Listen and Listen Close
Miscommunication in marriage happens all the time. When an argument ensues between you during a discussion, there is a good chance something went wrong in that communication. Your spouse might have completely taken what you said the opposite of what you meant it. So what do you do?
Also, when a normal and harmless discussion triggers a past experience or emotion, it automatically relates to past event.
To avoid misconceptions in your communications, practice what is called mirroring or reflective listening. This is a tool that is used in communications for proper or further clarifications.
Reflective listening is essentially listening to what your spouse is saying, and then repeating it back to them. You do this until there is no more miscommunication.
Reflective Listening conversations might sound like:
“What you are saying is….”
“You’re describing that you feel….”
“Can you explain that to me?”
“I would like to know….”
This might sound like it takes a lot of time to do. But, honestly, it is a very easy way to communicate and help with your relationship or marriage. There is the need for connection as a foundational principle because you cannot have that bonding connection without communication.
Author: Superior Evang. Yemi Adesiyan
Shepherd in Charge,
Celestial Church of Christ, Rehoboth Parish 2,
7047 Tireman St, Detroit, Michigan, USA,
Author of “I Love You”, “who is fooling whom?” and “Let’s Talk About Sex” Available on www.smashwords.com/profile/view/trfpublications