When we talk about communicating with our spouse, we usually think about words spoken, which are important. However, do you realize that the majority of what we communicate to others is not through words? (Click on title to read full post.)
When we talk about communicating with our spouse, we usually think about words spoken, which are important. However, do you realize that the majority of what we communicate to others is not through words? According to one source, 55% comes from our body language, 38% comes from our tone of voice, and only 7% comes from the words we speak.
I get this! It’s taken me a while to see it, but I now realize that most of the misunderstandings or arguments my wife and I have come from how my words are delivered, or more specifically, how my body language and tone accompany my words. In fact, many times she is correctly picks up something underneath my words, although there are times when what she interprets is something that I never intended.
Could much of the source of conflict in your marriage be due to your body language and tone of voice?
During the next week I challenge you to pay attention to your body language and tone of voice when communicating with your spouse. Make note of times when your body language or tone do not match the words you are saying. Also note those times when they actually do match, but when you are doing it intentionally in a positive or negative way. For the times when your body language and tone of voice are negative and cause conflict with your spouse (or others), note them in your mind and maybe even on paper. Then, when the anger and conflict has subsided, ask your spouse what he or she experienced in your body language or tone. Ask them what it was communicating to them and whether that was underneath the conflict. See what you learn about yourself.
Once you’ve gained this new awareness, it’s up to you to choose if you want to make changes. You may be able to ask your spouse to help you, coming up with a “code” that each of you can say to the other when your body language and tone is communicating something different than your words. For example, you could say “mismatch” and your spouse would know that your body language and tone are communicating something different than your words. Of course, if you agree to doing this, you’ll need to make sure you both are fully on board and agree that you won’t get defensive. Otherwise, using the code could cause an argument in and of itself, which would defeat its purpose.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
Note: Scripture verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.