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In A Relationship: Its Not Just What You Say, But How You Say It

[Title inspired by Perry Noble’s preaching on Adam and Eve: Four Things Every Man Must Know About A Woman]

taken from: writingourselveswhole.org
taken from: writingourselveswhole.org

It’s been a while since I had the time to write here. Our schedule’s been tight recently. Me and my fiancee, Cha, are less than a month’s time to our wedding, we’re both excited but at the same time tasks left and right are pushing us to our limits too. But I just have to share one of the biggest lesson on communication I learned during this season…

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

The idea isn’t new, you may think you know this already- I thought so too! But the pressures of time, money, etc. caught me by surprise, I realized that I tend to go back to my default sarcastic, or brutally frank way of saying things. You see, I always expect that when I talk to a person he or she should understand my intentions first. Sometimes, I want them to listen to me with just pure logic,and if needed, no emotions. I think I’ve read somewhere that men has the ability to “compartmentalize” their brains. To somehow separate the words and the emotions. I thought the same principle could apply when I talk to her. I was wrong!

One example was when we were talking about our wedding invites’ design. I had some comments about how I wanted it to look. Considering our time and budget constraints, I was quite disappointed that the look I want did not appear in the first few sample prints. So I gave my (brutally) honest criticisms and I repeatedly (over) emphasized our deadlines. I raised my voice and gave a few look of disappointments on my face. Of course we both want this to be excellent. But while I was giving my comments, I didn’t realize that I was already hurting her. After a long debate, I ended up apologizing, stated a few compromises and left the designing up to her- the end result? A beautifully done invitation! What’s funny was that, her ideas were right all along.

Sometimes, in the pursuit of our perceived “total excellence”, we forget to be human- that we are talking to people with emotions. Especially women. Sure, delivering your statements “raw” may be the fastest thing to do- but fast doesn’t always mean “safe”, is it? I think men ought to learn the art of saying things with grace. It’s hard when you have to drive a point, and you have to drive it quick. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if she got your point or not. The question is, did she feel loved?

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15, NIV

Men were called to lead the relationship, yes. But we were commanded to love too. If those two don’t go hand in hand, I think we fail altogether.

I know that it might take years for me to learn to “edit” the words I say and how I say it- but, heck, I have a lifetime to spend with her anyway. The sooner I learn how to instruct, commend, criticize, or even rebuke in love, the better it would be for the both of us. But the truth is, I can fail her indefinitely, and that is the reason why I can never take Jesus out of the equation. All other things can leave me burned out- and in the end, He is the only one who can fill me up again with the love and understanding that I need to keep this relationship going for another day.

 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Col 3:19. NIV.