Monday, August 4, 2008

Something Good: On Communication

Something Good button

A friend of mine recently commented to me that after many years of marriage, he was getting a little better about remembering that his wife needed to hear verbal responses from him whenever she told him something. I smiled and replied, "Jeff is required to say, 'Uh-huh' or 'Mm-hmm' or 'Yep', or he has to give a nod or make a clicking noise with his mouth or something. He has to give some kind of indication that he heard me. Otherwise, I feel like he doesn't care."

Men open their mouths to speak for one reason and one reason only: to relay information. Women, however, have FIVE reasons for communicating. I can't remember all of them, but a few of them are to relay information, to build rapport, to express their feelings, to solve their problems, etc. It's very easy and natural for a husband to forget all those reasons and respond to his wife as if she is male. This is one of the reasons Scripture reminds husbands to live with their wives "in an understanding way" (i.e. to keep in mind the fact that a wife needs her husband to be verbal with her). And it's the wife's responsibility to be gracious and respectful to her husband when he forgets to respond, trusting the fact that he *does* care, even if he forgot to express it her way.

So yesterday afternoon, I told Jeff all about the conversation I'd had, and I shared all my thoughts on husband/wife communication, including tons of back story and detail, in a very beautiful, womanly way. About 2/3 of the way through my story, I realized that in listening to me, Jeff had been giving me all the responses I'd been referring to! It just cracked me right up. And then he started doing it on purpose. So the end of our conversation went like this:

Becky: Did you realize you've been saying all the right things this whole time I've been talking to you?
Jeff: Uh-huh.
Becky: That's hilarious!
Jeff: Yep.
Becky: I've been talking about how a husband has to give some kind of verbal response, and you've been giving it right along!
Jeff: Mm-hmm.
Becky: That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Jeff: Good.
Becky: And now I know *exactly* what I'm going to post on Something Good tomorrow.
Jeff: Really?
Becky: Yep.
Jeff: Good!

I have to agree. Jeff is *very* good to me.