By Ilex Bien-Aime
Do you remember when you first met your mate? It seemed that you spent a great deal of time talking. You talked about everything and it didn’t matter what time of the day or night it was, you just wanted to hear each other’s voice. At that moment communication was not a problem and yet you didn’t know each other. Now that you know each other and are supposedly in love, communication seems to be a foreign concept.
Both sides seem to forget how they were in the beginning. When the other person spoke, we respected them and we actually let them talk. We really wanted to know how the other person was feeling and we were interested in what they were thinking. Over time it seems that we care less about what the other is thinking and what they have to say. Now when it’s supposed to be “we”, it has become all about “me”.
Conversations are now less pleasant. We just don’t listen to each other. Sure, we hear each other but we really aren’t listening. We are so busy thinking of a witty comeback while our spouses are speaking that we don’t take into consideration the other person’s feelings. We have adopted the mentality that the other person is wrong and we are going to prove it. What we must realize is that sometimes, it’s not about right or wrong, it’s about how the other person feels.
All too often we try to make our partners look as if they are foolish. We act as if everything that they have to say is baseless. Sometimes when they speak, we roll our eyes or suck our teeth with displeasure. When we do this, we send signals to our loved one that they perceive as us not listening or caring about them. We try to make it seem as if our partner just became crazy and that we cannot understand what they are thinking.
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would realize that we contribute to the break down in communication with our mates. Though most of us do care about how the other person is feeling, their feelings mean very little to us if they get in the way of our own views. When we think that we are correct and the other person is wrong, we just don’t listen to them when they speak. In some cases, we let our partners know how stupid we think they are.
When you think about it, it really is a shame that in order for us to listen to our partners, someone else has to show us their side. I realize that time and some hard feelings can keep us from properly communicating – but this should not be. This bond should be the strongest bond that you have ever had or will ever have. No one from the outside should need to come in and help explain your partner for you.
Sometimes we need to shut up and let our mates speak. We need to let them know that we have heard what they had to say and just walk away to think about what they said. Often times the more we do this, we will see at least some of their point of view. Sometimes we will recognize that we did wrong and sometimes we won’t but at least we would have let them have a voice.
We need to understand the negative stance we bring to conversations. When someone says something to us, we tend to become defensive. I can’t tell you how many times a conversation has gone south due to the other person trying to defend themselves or by the other person showing signs of annoyance. I understand that when someone tells us something that we don’t like, we are going to react but we have to learn to keep our composure.
People also need to be realistic about who they are. News flash – you aren’t always right. Sometimes if you shut up long enough, you will see that. Many times we are hypocrites also. We don’t want our partners to do and say things we do and say to them. If someone feels as if you are not holding them to the same standards that you hold yourself to, odds are they are going to tune you out.
At the end of the day, we need to practice James 1:19, ” My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” A man who is quick to listen shows that he is willing to truly hear what you have to say. A man who is slow to speak shows that he is truly thinking about what you are saying. A man who is slow to anger shows that he is patient and wants to resolve the conflict and not make the situation worse. When it all boils down to it, if you shut up for a second, you just may hear what someone else is trying to tell you, even God!
My name is Ilex Bien-Aime and I live in Washington, DC with my lovely wife. I write as a man who has seen women mistreat themselves and who have allowed themselves to be mistreated. I write as a man who wants to give my future daughters a guideline on how to deal with men. Lastly I write what I write because my female friends are always asking my opinion about these situations.