When you’re in a relationship talking is a must, but what is even more essential than talking in a relationship is communicating. There is a different huge difference between talking and communicating. And, there is a huge difference between communicating and communicating in love.
For the first year of our marriage I failed so much at communicating in love with my wife. What seemed to be the norm for me was not loving communication, but rather my attempt to get stuff off my chest. You know what I’m talking about right? Your wife says she wants you to talk about something so then you just blurt out tons of stuff harshly and then say, “Well, you wanted me to talk right?”
Getting stuff off your chest is nothing more than a selfish attempt to manipulate your spouse. However, communicating in love always seeks the betterment of the other person. One is about getting your point across, the other is about hearing the heart of your spouse and responding in a way that he or she can receive it.
Great relational communicators are more focus on heart connection through listening and sharing than they are about winning an argument. Great relational communicators look to build up the other through their words. It takes skill to craft your words in a way that your spouse can easily receive them.
Does this mean that you can never talk about the hard stuff? Of course not, without talking about the hard stuff your relationship will always receive at the surface level. Does this mean that you will not argue because everything is presented in a pretty little package? Of course not, because you will still need to confront one another about things and no matter how nice the package looks it is still hard to be confronted with truth.
However, when you communicate in love and the goal is to draw nearer to one another there is a lot more grace present. You will not always communicate well, you will not always say things at the right time, with the right tone, or the right way. But because your love is not selfish, is not easily angered, rejoices with the truth, and always hopes, you will work through it.
Communication takes skill, time, and intention. It takes being willing to check your tone, mannerisms, and facial expressions. It’s not just about being good with words, it about being loving with them. Becoming a great relational communicator takes a lot of work, but learning to communicate in love is worth every ounce of energy you will ever invest; your spouse and your friendships are worth it.
The next time you’re talking with your spouse, friend, coworker, or teammate ask yourself, am I just talking or am I communicating in love?