I have recently seen several posts and tweets that say something to the effect of:
“I’m only responsible for what I say. Not for what you understand.”
I have mixed feelings about this, because it is both true and false, depending on how you apply it. I am not responsible for what you choose to think, but I can certainly do a lot to increase the odds that you will understand what I mean. Tone of voice and body language can make “nice words” not nice at all. History, both with the person you are listening to and with others, makes certain words like land mines. Moreover, we all have different definitions of words, so what a word means to me may not be the same as what it means to you.
If I say something, and what my bride understands from what I say is not what I meant, should I claim I am not responsible for what she understands and walk away justified? No way! My love for her puts on me a responsibility to try to communicate what I mean to her; even if that takes more effort than just tossing out a few words.
Some couples get sidetracked by “why” the listener is not understanding, and then it can become about whose fault it is that the listener does not understand. The resulting discussion (or fight) overshadows the original misunderstanding, and all too often the listener never does understand what the speaker meant.
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
First this week, let me point you to a series on masturbation done by Julie of Intimacy in Marriage and “Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous”, the anonymous woman behind the Hot Holy & Humorous blog. I respect both these ladies, and agree with what they have to say on this topic (I would state it differently and offer some different caveats, but that’s about style and experience). If you have wanted to discuss this subject with your bride, this is a great woman-friendly way to do it. There is a bit of overlap, and to get it all you will need to read the following four posts:
Couple Things Blog
Ten Warning Signs of Relationship-Threatening Problems: Just what the title says. Do you have warning signs in your marriage?
Relationship Trouble-Shooting – Part 1: Tough things to do, but they will help your marriage.
Being Fat and Lazy is Hurting Our Families: Looking to get fit yourself, as a couple, or as a family? Check this out.
Happily Ever After
”husband”, a user’s guide”
I Want That: Are you willing to work for it?
Journey to Surrender
Materialistic Marriages are Unhappier, say Researchers : I can always count on Lori Lowe to cover new marriage research well.
Would You Reconnect With An Old Love Interest?: A bad plan!
One Flesh Marriage
The Romantic Vineyard
Sharing Musts For A Healthy Marriage – Passwords & Our Bodies : Totally agree.
Mark Your Calendar: I don;t usually link to this weekly feature as it is time sensitive. Just a heads up – if you like it, check it each Sunday.
Is Your Marriage A Place of Trust? : A questionnaire to help you answer that question.
14 Ways to ruin sex: If that is your goal, these will do it.
3 Ways: Find Time with Your Spouse: Try them all!
What You Believe Could Be Killing Your Marriage: Are you acting, or living?
Stupendous Marriage Show 017: iPhones Breaking Up Marriage, Materialism and More Getting Fit: Still a great podcast!