Reading Me

Portrait of romantic young couple spending time together outdoorsBen is a salesman. He’s a verbal processer, a people person, and an extrovert. Jennifer is a journalistic processer, loves her time alone, and is more of an introvert. Even though their communication styles overlap and generally work well together, communication still takes a lot of effort.

“We’re both very affectionate people,” Jennifer says, “but Ben is really good at reading my body language. When I try to hide an irritation or something, he can see right through me. And he calls me on it.”

“Other times, we can miss or misinterpret those nonverbal signals,” Ben says. “Either I won’t see it in myself, or I’ll miss it in Jennifer. But all of this is so important in communication.”

As Ben affirms, in order to have healthy communication, open and honest transparency is necessary. You must walk your talk—your behavior, your facial expressions, and the tone of your voice must match what you say. “You’re right” can mean you are mad, sad, happy, afraid, humble, proud—depending on the way you say it and your body language.

Messages can get confusing when you say one thing but the inflection of your voice and your body signals say another. Statistics say that communication is thirty-eight percent tone, fifty-five percent body language and only seven percent words!

“When a situation with his girls is grieving Ben,” Jennifer says, “I’ll see that it’s weighing on him by his body language or other things. He might be quieter or more uptight or less engaged. During moments like that, I try to find a way to diffuse the situation and help him through it, whether that means talking about what’s going on or sending him off for a hike. Knowing what the other person needs and giving him the freedom to do what he needs to do is important.”

“Jennifer’s really good about helping me through things that I can’t even articulate,” Ben says. “I try to find balance to know what I can, and can’t, solve. And I try to let go of the things I can’t fix, which is really important in any divorce situation. I do what I can but put the rest in God’s care.”

Good communication is conveying what is in your heart and knowing that your future spouse lovingly receives it. When you express your thoughts and your future spouse listens and responds with feedback and understanding, you both become successful communicators and will grow closer in your relationship.

What tips do you have for deepening your communication? I’d love to know.

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2013, all rights reserved.


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