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Builder: Practice Love Talk
by David & Claudia Arp
October 19th, 2017
“Conversation should be like a salad, composed of various ingredients and well stirred with salt, oil, and vinegar.”
If you want to really communicate with your mate, you need to learn how to speak the truth in love. That rules out yelling and angry looks along with negative and attacking words. Instead follow Paul’s advice to Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
Communicating in love includes being willing to listen with love. And you must listen for the total message. “Why don’t you listen to me?” is more than a trite question. Spouses in every stage and walk of life, desperately desire to have their spouse listen to them. But, why is listening so hard?
And when we do listen, why do we so often misunderstand what the other person says? One reason we get it wrong, is that we are only listening to the words. And as important as the words are, they are only 7 percent of the total message! What you say is only a tiny part of the message. No wonder so many conversations are unheard dialogues. That’s scary! If you don’t understand the message you’ll have difficulty responding.
So what is the other 93% of the message? The tone of voice is 38% of the message. How you say something is five times more powerful that what you say. So start listening for your tone of voice.
That still leaves 55% of the message. And that’s what you don’t say in words–that’s the shrugs, glares, and all the non-verbal messages. We all know “the look.”
Think about this: What message do you give if you say the right words, but how you say it and the looks you give contradict your words? Nothing devastates loving communication as much as when the words give one message, but the nonverbal message and tone of voice are loaded with hostility, bitterness, and a totally different message! So as you listen to your partner also listen to your own message and make sure your words, non-verbal, and tone of voice are communicating the same loving message.
Take a couple of minutes and think of five unique ways to communicate to your mate that you love him or her without saying a word. For instance, Dave says “I love you” loud and clear when after dinner he leads Claudia to her favorite recliner, gives her an unread magazine, then disappears and becomes the “kitchen elf.” Claudia says, “I love you” when she finally sews that button on Dave’s favorite shorts or when she puts on our favorite romantic C D and gives Dave that “come hither” look.
Concentrate on expressing love to your spouse in actions as well as words, then when you must speak the truth in love to confront other issues, your spouse just may hear and understand what you are saying. In loving marriages and families, we say what we mean, mean what we say and look and sound like we mean it! Now, did you hear that?