By Shamseddin Giwa
There are various versions of this statement that apply to us differently but we all want the same thing, to be able to speak and be listened to in a way that leads to the action we want.
We want to pass a message and have it received with appropriate action. What we seek is effective nuptial communication.
Now, let us use speaking as an example. What many of us do is talk, then we complain that the spouse is not listening but how is this talk being done? What exactly is being said?
This is what lets a lot of people down, the lack of proper ideas. It is difficult to accept because we all want our level of intelligence and grasp respected but it remains that sometimes, what we are saying just doesn’t connect enough to trigger the desired results. Where this person is our spouse, it is even more sensitive but the way out of this is to upgrade the ideas being passed such that it is of preferred value at the point of execution.
How is this message being said?
It is not enough to conceive a message in our minds. Being able to send the message to mean what we intend it to mean is also very key. A simple statement of “you dey craze?” Said with a smile may trigger a laugh from the person being said to. The same statement, said with a straight face or a frown means something that can become offensive and received with hostility. Needless to say that if you intend the first one but deliver the message without the smile, you will have one thing in your mind but be saying something else.
Just speaking alone needs you to pay attention to message tone, message volume, message timing, message length, message frequency, message intensity, message sensitivity in addition to message content already discussed above.
Message timing alone, expanded, needs you to consider things like location, mood, external events, interest, busyness, etc. It is the same with the other factors, they all have sub categories to pay attention to.
Luckily, our mind works very fast and is quick to piece together the different values that our message needs to be delivered right. Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t pay adequate attention to this so we keep coming up with the wrong combination, meaning that more times than not, we are not heard.
To the question “why doesn’t your spouse listen?”
Many of us cannot answer, we simply do not know so we jump to whatever assumption seems most likely to us. This we do, without assessing the spouse that’s right there for us to assess.
Everybody has a combination that works, this combination is what we need to figure out.
Now, even for talking, that is only half of the equation but it is the half that we control. There is still another half, which is receiving. How is our message being received, is it being received as we intended it?
Just because I intended something as a joke (for example) doesn’t mean that it would be received by the other person as a joke. What I would need to do in this case, is to explain that it was intended as a joke. That will address the immediate conversation, then I study the person to know how to adjust my approach for future conversations. This can be frustrating at times but the moment we let it get to us, we abandon everything and give up on the conversation or try to force the approach which does not work. While this may work for someone who is not as important as a spouse, it has far reaching consequences when done in the home and in a marriage.
Understand, first what gets your spouse in a conversation then you can work on adjusting yourself to it. This will also need you to understand their ability to grasp the message as you are sending and intending.
“Emos ot esnes ekam ton lliw siht”
This will not make sense to some even though it is very clearly stated. Some spouses will give up after a few attempts, whereas all that needs to be done is to try another perspective, literally (in this case trying from back to front).