My husband and I were each working on our computers. It was early afternoon, and because we were blessed to be able to work from home, it was our habit to have a short siesta after lunch each day.
We worked in the same room, and my computer was a little way away from his, but we could still talk to each other.
I stopped what I was doing and turned around towards where he was. Then I said,
“Angel, I’m ready to sleep whenever you are. I’m editing at the moment, but I can stop whenever you are ready. Just let me know, okay?”
He said, “Okay.”
Well time went on and we worked and worked. I thought,
“Wow, he must really be in a flow. Obviously he isn’t ready to sleep yet.”
I carried on working, and a few minutes later he said to me in a rather irritated way,
“So, are we going to go to sleep or not? What is taking you so long?”
I was shocked.
I said, “Huh? I said to you just now that I was busy working; that you should just let me know when you were ready for sleep and I would shut down.”
He said, “I didn’t hear you.”
Oh boy what a confusion. Here I said something that I thought was very clear, but he apparently did not hear it, even though I thought I heard him respond. Maybe he thought I said that I was working and would let him know when I was ready. I don’t know.
Whatever the case, this little incident made me realize how important good communication is in a marriage. Because you see without that clear communication there will be many confusions and misunderstandings; even arguments.
So how should you start communicating properly? How can you make sure that you get your point across and that you are heard correctly? You can do that without being dominating or rude.
The Wrong Way to Communicate
First I want to share when it is not a good time to try and communicate.
1. When He is Walking Out the Door
If your husband is on his way out or to somewhere else, the chances are his mind is on where he is going. This being the case, he will simply not hear you or respond if you try to talk to him quickly on the way out.
2. When He is Busy With Some Other Activity
The same thing goes if your husband is busy doing something else that is perhaps occupying his mind. He may be reading a book or doing some extra work at home. Or he may be talking on the telephone.
Either way his mind is pre-occupied with whatever he is doing and he will not easily be diverted to listen to you. He has often said to me,
“Women are supposed to be able to multitask. Men can’t do that. I can’t do more than one thing at a time.”
If he is a good representative of most men, then you need to give your husband time to ‘change his hat’ to something new.
The Right Way to Communicate
Here then is the right way to communicate. And it is what I have found from experience works well with us.
1. Get His Attention
Firstly you need to get your husband’s attention. I have found that the best way to do this is to approach him in this sort of way. I say,
“Angel, I need to talk to you when you have a chance.”
Or, “Hey honey, do you have a minute to talk? I need to discuss something with you.”
You have alerted him to the fact that you want to talk. He will now make a plan to stop what he is doing and listen to you. When he turns his attention to you, then you need to do the next step.
2. Make Eye Contact
Once he has stopped what he is doing and is ready to listen to you, look him straight in his eyes and say what you want to say. When you do this, he will put his full attention on you and you can then discuss what you need to.
3. Be Specific
Perhaps you and your husband both work and you can only communicate on the phone. Say for example you arrange to meet at a certain place after work. You must be specific so that both of you know exactly what to do.
Here is an example. Don’t say something like,
“I’ll meet you after work somewhere in Walmart. I’ll probably be in the clothing section. I’m sure you’ll find me.”
No, that is too vague and uncertain. There can be endless confusion for both of you when you try to meet later. Here is a better way to communicate. Say something like,
“I’ll meet you at 5:00 outside the Food Court at Walmart. I’ll wait at our favorite spot by the fountain.”
You now have a specific time and place, and there should be no confusion with either of you about meeting.
Communication is actually very easy when you both follow these simple guidelines. When you do it correctly there will be few misunderstands or conflicts, and both of you will be at peace as a result of it.
If you are having a problem communicating, try these simple ideas. I am sure you will see a quick change in your circumstances.