Wallowing amidst the near miss of a cold yesterday, I followed up on an outstanding item floating through the background noise of my thoughts and took a brief quiz on The Five Love Languages. This was a followup to something that Nighean Gheal had said about the quiz that The Ravishing Mrs. TB had suggested she take.
I took the online test (it's free!) and was not surprised to discover that my "love languages" are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. I then went ahead and tried to "figure out" what the love languages of The Ravishing Mrs. TB are as a project.
Later that night before we went to sleep, I told her about my taking the test, what I found, and wondered what she thought hers were. She listed them - to my surprise, the first one she listed was not the one that I had guessed (number 2 was probably correct).
It gave me reason to rethink the matter of communication and how we communicate: simply put, we often talk and listen to people in the context of ourselves, or how we believe that people are and need to be communicated with. In the very simple example just given, what The Ravishing Mrs. TB thinks and what I think about what communicates loves are completely different - so it's not a wonder that things that I think communicate love are not even understood by her as meaning the same thing.
But I can extend that to virtually every relationship I have. I communicate out of my own basis of knowledge, often trying to communicate with another person how I think or perceive they want to be communicated with, not necessarily how they receive it. It's as different as trying to carry on a conversation between two individuals who do not speak a common tongue: both sides are trying to say something but neither one is heard; a sort of bilingual monologue, or "Dialogue of the Deaf" as Dr. Stephen Covey would call it.
But obviously we cannot get to the level of knowledge of our spouse with every relationship we maintain - yet in order to successfully function day to day we need to effectively communicate with every relationship that we maintain. Do we think about how we are communicating - are we effectively speaking to the other person - as much as we consider what we are communicating?
Communicating - first effectively with your loved ones, then with the greater circle of relationships around you - is one of the greatest determining factors in whether you have a successful marriage, family relationship, or personal/professional relationship of any kind.
Are you communicating in a way they can understand?