One of the temptations for a relationship blogger is to get a big head. When you speak as an expert on a topic, you can start to feel like you are an expert, and have extra-special skills. This week, as we looked at communication styles, I felt like I was going to ace the challenge. After all, in our challenge about communicating kindly, I managed to have a really kind and peaceful communication with my husband. Unfortunately, this time, I was an abject failure. Fortunately, my husband took the lead, demonstrating for me how communication styles can make a difference.
Failure to Communicate
As you know if you read Monday’s blog, this week was all about communicating in your spouse’s love language. By looking through the information I found when I researched different communication styles, I realized that my husband communicates best when the conversation focuses on logic and facts and when he has plenty of time to present his ideas without being rushed. I knew that we had an important discussion coming up, so I planned on adjusting my communication style for that conversation.
Unfortunately, before we could have our discussion, I got really stressed. I started worrying obsessively about how the discussion would go, and went into the worst side of my communication style. Instead of being logical, I was emotional. Instead of being straight-forward, I was passive-aggressive and whiny. Instead of listening patiently, I was pushy and cranky. Ironically, my bad communication meant that instead of having one solid conversation, we had several short but unproductive conversations where neither of us felt really heard.
Learning From My Husband
After a number of these unproductive conversations, my husband did something amazing: he switched up his communication style to match mine. We had not talked about this strategy, but I guess he must already have this one in his toolbox, because he switched very effectively. I hate confrontation and find conversation easiest when I feel cared about. To help me, he spoke gently, encouraged me to share my emotions, and gave me caring physical touch while we talked. The impact of his shift in approach was astonishing. I could feel myself relaxing immediately, and I felt cared for and heard. Within minutes, my defenses were down and we were able to have the discussion we needed.
The Importance of Humble Pie
My failure this week and my husband’s spectacular success have taught me three things I think we all can benefit from. First, I learned that adjusting communication styles can make a huge difference when trying to relate in my relationship. Second, I need to stay humble and recognize that I still have a lot to learn about relationships. Third, my husband has a lot to teach me about relationships if I am willing to learn from him. Humility in relationships goes a long way!