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Communication is a hot topic for couples—and for good reason. Most couples struggle in this area to some degree, but few know what to do about it. It’s worthwhile to focus on communication, because when you improve it, the other areas of your relationship will follow.
If communication isn’t your strongest suit, or even if you just want to take things to the next level, you’re in luck. Marriage expert Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect, recently joined The Dave Ramsey Show to discuss the ins and outs of marital communication.
We all know that men and women communicate differently. But sometimes a man and a woman can say the exact same thing with totally different meanings.
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Eggerichs gives an example: “When a wife says, ‘I’ve got nothing to wear,’ what does she mean? ‘I’ve got nothing new.’ When her husband says the same thing, he means, ‘I’ve got nothing clean.’”
And you know what? They’re both right! So how in the world can you say the same sentence—the exact same words—but mean something entirely different?
“We tend to interpret things through our gender far more than we might think,” Eggerichs points out. “We can say something that, in their frame of reference, means something totally different than we intended.”
Pink And Blue Megaphones
This miscommunication, and the arguments that usually result from it, comes from our unique perspectives. Eggerichs uses a metaphor to illustrate this point.
He explains: “God designed women to look at the world through pink sunglasses, hear through pink hearing aids, and speak through a pink megaphone. All three of these things affect how she sees, hears, and speaks. She expects everyone to understand what she says because all of her girlfriends do.”
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The same goes for guys, except they accessorize with blue as their color of choice. All of their buddies understand them, so why can’t the wife understand as well?
Eggerich’s visual is simple but powerful. And it reminds us to ask a very important clarifying question: “What did you mean by what you said?”
Think about all the arguments that couples could potentially avoid if they simply understood what each other meant in the first place. Most spouses aren’t out to pick a fight, so if they could see the world through each other’s colored glasses, how much easier would life be?
Because ultimately, what we all want is a happy, healthy relationship with our other half. When we choose to believe the best about each other—that we’re good-willed people, as Eggerichs puts it—then our marriages will be better, and we’ll be much happier.
In the upcoming part two of this series with Emerson Eggerichs, he’ll be talking about how couples can break out of the miscommunication cycle that harms so many marriages. Stay tuned!