Those Macek Maverick calls that one of my sisters instigated back in 2020 are still taking place. Although these phone calls are now twice a month instead of every week, the questions and our conversations remain consistently interesting. I am still learning about the siblings I grew up with, still appreciating them and find some of the questions more challenging than others. Most recently was this question, “How have you changed your communication style over the years? What positive results came as a result of some change? What is one effective communication tool you rely upon?”
Do Not Fear
When I recall how my husband and I used to communicate, I shudder. It was awful. We had more discourse before we married than we did in the following ten years of our marriage. I suppose what made our interchanges more difficult after we tied the knot was our expectations of one another. Marriage brings its own special hope for a “happily ever after scenario.” But no one is guaranteed a happy marriage. As a matter of fact, unless both parties are willing to put forth a persistent investment in articulating their ideas, concerns, and complaints, as well as words of fond affection, appreciation and respect, the union, if it lasts, will be a miserable one. Misunderstandings and hurt feelings will prevail.
Communicating with a spouse is not for the weak, timid or fearful. It takes courage to be vulnerable and vulnerability is key to good communication. Listening with patience is another important ingredient. But I have not always been as keen to these facts that now seem so obvious. Instead, I entered into marriage expecting that my husband, who loved me, would also understand me.
At first, I was shocked by how little he comprehended or seemed to care about how I felt. My patience wore thin and at times, we both resorted to muting ourselves. I thought that if he would just engage in an argument with me, we could solve our differences. But no matter how loud I yelled, he never entered into any verbal wrestling matches with me.
Many times the silence between us was so thick that I imagined divorcing him and moving back home to live with my mother. That was a crazy thought. Getting along with Mother would have been a much worse trial than sticking it out with my husband. Consequently, I stuck it out with my husband.
I believe there were two events for me that changed everything about our communication. Number one, I committed myself to the marriage. I stopped thinking about leaving him. I closed the escape hatch, so to speak, and threw away the key.
Secondly, I stepped into what felt most awkward for me, voicing my hurts, my longings, and desires. I hate to cry and putting words to things unseen, but deeply felt, always made me cry. But, I knew that without crossing over into this raw and uncharted territory we would not make it as man and wife. So, I crossed over, broke the silence barrier and low and behold, he did too.
Why bother to change the way we communicate? If we change the way we communicate we have a better chance of things turning out better than we could ever have imagined.