I’m sitting here at two in the morning thinking about why we have so much trouble communicating with one another? Why is it such a challenge to express our feelings to one another? Why can’t I say whatever needs to be said to my mate? These questions baffle me. Shouldn’t the longer we are together enhance it? But it seems to worsen with time. I’ve spoken to many men and women and I have done a lot of self-evaluation and I’ve come to realize this:
We are afraid!
We are afraid to say the wrong thing, we are afraid to risk losing our mate, we are afraid to be ourselves, afraid that this person won’t understand, afraid they won’t accept us, afraid to be alone, so we keep quiet. Shutting off the most important gift God has blessed us with, communication! We have been given a wonderful gift to be able to express in so many ways, speech, touch, looks (expression),written, body language, dance, and exercising our attitudes. We have been given so many ways to communicate yet we waste our time in silence!
As I began penning this post, I thought how can we be so arrogant to think we don’t need to express, communicate or listen to our mates? For years in my marriage I kept quiet to preserve peace, I always thought “happy wife happy life.” But I began to realize, I was becoming smaller and smaller in the relationship. I didn’t have a problem doing things for her or helping her in any way, but the longer we were together the less I felt a part of the marriage.
I felt like the fourth wheel on a tri-cycle, you could find a place for it but not necessary to make it go. It sucked! I know y’all can feel me on that. I had to learn that expressing myself didn’t mean arguing or being a jerk, just being heard was what I wanted.
Before I got married I asked my dad some advice, he said, “pick your battles, not everything is worth fighting over.” True. He said it’s about compromise, understanding. and respect. More truth. And he said, “just treat her like your girlfriend, always.” I thought I had the Holy Grail! He knew a bit about it, hell, my parents have been married for over 50 years!
What got lost in that translation was that I gave all of that but didn’t receive it. She didn’t compromise with me or respect my difference of opinion and understanding. But that was partially my fault. I didn’t stress to her how I needed to be heard, I just wanted her to be happy. Being able to say I disagree without a fight, wasn’t going to happen. And to keep peace, I went along with most things.
I was afraid to disappoint her. Her happiness was what I cared about. Not afraid in a sense of fear of a beat down, just afraid she wouldn’t be happy. I could never communicate to her what made me happiest, most angry, frustrated or even concerned. Our marriage was one sided. I really had no one to blame but me- I let it get to that point. I had to change my way of thinking and speaking, expressing my feelings in calm tones and openness. Realizing it is OK to communicate and express oneself!
So ladies, gentlemen, let’s work on dialogue. Let’s start taking back our space. That same person that listened to us in the beginning is still in there, and that person we haven’t met yet is out there waiting to hear us. So don’t stop respecting. Don’t stop expressing. Don’t stop loving yourself. Don’t miss out on communication- it can change the game!
When was the last time you had open and honest communication with your spouse, with yourself?