Communication is one of the vital keys that unlock the doors to relationship success. The first part of the word relationship is RELATE, which means to connect. The last part is SHIP which is to transport or convey. Connections with others are made by establishing messages that are clearly understood by all parties. In the communication process there is the Sender, the Receiver, and the Message. Then outside of that there is the Interference. The goal is to eliminate the interference as to ensure that the message being sent by the sender is the actual message that the receiver receives.
A person’s orientation of mind, way of thinking, or manner of processing information can interfere with the message and hinder the intended message from getting to the receiver un-altered. Likewise, the same is true when a sender sends a message that is not in the language that the receiver would understand. Both conditions create interference. Therefore during the process of relating and communicating with your mate, it becomes necessary for both of you to make a paradigm shift in order to create a sphere of understanding. Understanding is a major factor in the lines of communication being open. Lack of understanding is the biggest cause of interference in the communication process, and the biggest factor in why communication breaks down.
Where there is mutual understanding, two people in a relationship are able to grasp the idea of their mate because they have taken the time to learn how their partner processes information. In other words, they speak their mate’s language and convey information that is readily understood by the one to whom they are speaking. Couples must learn to speak each other’s language.
One day I had a conversation with a man, he was telling me that his wife like most women nags. While to him his wife nags, to her she reminds her husband of things. He shared with me a situation where his wife asked him to fix something that needed to be glued. He told her he would fix it. He then saw an advertisement about some really fantastic glue that he wanted to get and use. Logically, this was the best glue and he knew he could really satisfy and please his wife by using this particular glue. Also, as gadget man, most men usually are, he believed he would also get some pleasure out of the project. For him a win-win was to use this specific glue. She wasn’t thinking in terms of win-win, she wanted it done.
His fore thought was to make his wife happy. He was excited about the glue because, “oh boy” here was another fantastic thing he could try. The only catch was he had to order the glue and it would take about three weeks to get it. No problem right? He knew how long it would take to get glue. He believed it to be a reasonable amount of time, and it probably was. The problem is he failed to communicate this small bit of information to his wife. Therefore, she kept reminding him to fix what she had asked him to fix. He felt she was nagging him about it and she felt that he was just taking his time about getting it done.
Now, if the lines of communication were actually opened between the two, he would have said to her something like, “Honey, I want to fix that for you and I am actually excited about using this glue to fix it. However, it will take about three weeks for me to get it, but as soon as it arrives I will fix this.”
Now, the wife may not necessarily want to wait the three weeks, but she most likely would have because she would’ve been clear on when the issue would be resolved and that’s all that mattered to her. She just wanted it done; she didn’t care how he did it, “just get it done.” Had she known when he would fix it and why, there would have been no need to keep reminding him. Had he told her what he was waiting on to fix it, he would not have been subjected to her “nagging,” at least not on that issue anyway.
On the flip side, the wife could have asked something like, “Honey, why is it taking so long to fix this?” That would have opened the door for him to say what the situation was. So the lack of understanding between the two is because the sender didn’t send the message clearly, and the receiver who was waiting on the message didn’t stop and say, “Hey what’s going on?”
Communication is a two way exchange and must be void of assumptions and presumptions because often both are incorrect. As I explained to the gentleman, generally speaking, when women raise the same issue all the time or complain about the same thing over and over again, men consider this to be nagging. Yet for women, what men view as nagging, is often either intended as reminders, pleas to accomplish task, requests to keep their word, or indication that additional information is required.
In the absence of communication several factors cause interference in the relationship, and the only way to remove that interference is to take the time to convey information back and forth until there is mutual understanding. Many couples lack the patience to communicate thoroughly as such. However, successful ones make it a point to communicate in this manner and consistently look for ways to keep the lines of communication open in their relationship.
Ways to Open the Lines of Communication
• Remove walls and barriers between the two of you.
• Discuss things as they come up, don’t let them pile up.
• Remember that your spouse or partner is not your adversary or someone you have to win against. Create a win-win. It’s important that both come out on top together.
• Use non-threatening forms of communication. Avoid being defensive and judgmental.
• Be compassionate and understanding. Learn what makes your mate tick.
• Be open and honest. Be trusting and trustworthy with one another. Be vulnerable to each other and protective of each other.
• Seek to understand your mate over being understood, then structure your message in a manner in which they will understand it.
• Don’t blame your partner when there is a breakdown. Look at how you can improve your message.
• Make time to relate. Do not let others run interference with that time including social media, children, family members, work, church, or friends.
• Widen your sphere of understanding. Create safe spaces and common grounds.
• Practice talking daily about non-threatening matters to improve communication and build bridges between each other.
• Listen to your mate through your heart.