“The worst thing that can happen (between us) is if we don’t talk.”
Those were the words I heard often, from my father, when I was a child. Grammar aside, that was a principle that he instilled in my siblings and I, stressing the dire necessity of communication in a relationship. As a child, you don’t fully grasp the gravity of such foundational principles until you become an adult and experience relationships where communication is a trying exchange.
Communication in a loving relationship between a man and woman is a learning process.
I cannot stress this enough. This fact is often overlooked if not, totally missed. Mistakenly, some think that love will make communication easier. On the contrary, the nature of loving relationships, with deep-seated emotions involved, tend to complicate things. Communication is a combination of active listening and expressive speaking. Most of us easily master the ‘talking part’ of communication. We all want to be heard. It’s the act of listening that takes a conscious effort. The development of this discipline will greatly impact the relationship. Listening is a gift that says, I value what you have to say even when we don’t agree with what has been said. Listening is an act of humility and respect.
Same Words, Different Meaning
Another difficulty in communication is the difference in how men and women communicate. Men and women speaking the same language, using the same words, in the same sequence can, and often, mean entirely different things. For example: A man says to a woman: “I just want to be friends”. Typically when a man says this, it’s a careful maneuver to get a woman comfortable enough to let down her guard. He can then pursue the relationship that he’s really after which, more than likely, is different from what he’s letting on.
On the other hand, when a woman says the same sentence, “I just want to be friends”, she means exactly what she’s saying. She has no immediate or future desire to be anything other than platonic in that relationship. The problem really arises when the man or woman takes for granted that the hearer understands this ‘gender speech’ when they don’t because each gender means something different though saying the same thing.
Clear Communication: A Learned Behavior
This is where it becomes important to establish clear communication with this other person considering the difference in how males and females communicate. It’s an arduous and daunting task at times but also a valuable learning process that helps to strengthen your relationship or maybe determine whether or not you are compatible with this person in terms of your ability (or lack thereof) to effectively communicate with them. In either case, there’s something to be gained from this exchange.
Take the time to understand not just the words of your partner but, the meaning that they are pouring into those words and not assume that they mean what you mean, when saying those same words. It requires work, but the effort will prove to be worthwhile and will establish a great foundation for you to build upon as you grow and develop your relationship with one another.
BMWK, Do you and your spouse say the same thing but have different meanings?