Communication Is More Than Talking

Yellow Lilies

Communication is one of my passions, and it’s clearly a key part of any relationship or marriage. It’s also a foundation for good consultations aimed at unified decision-making between a couple and in a family. However, it is often more than talking.

One of the things I love about communication is the sheer variety related to it. Of course, communication includes verbal communication and listening. However, many of the same principles of tact, patience, respect, and love apply to other types of communication, too. I love to text and use emoticons with my husband. A couple of mornings a week I stay in bed and fix him a tray for breakfast the night before…on which I usually leave a note of love and encouragement. When I get up, it’s a joy to see what he wrote back on the piece of paper. We use email mostly for taking care of family business matters, keeping each other informed about finances and kids. We use text messages and emails to share interesting articles, spiritual quotations, funny cartoons, photos, and more.

Sometimes communication is also a shared glance, smile, laugh, or “look”. Sometimes it’s a bouquet of yellow flowers when I’ve had a tough day. Often it’s a hug of support, holding hands during prayers, or the words of prayers. Through prayer, we learn what is on each other’s heart, mind, and soul. He tends to pray with his own words, and I tend to use a prayerbook. Part of what I’ve learned about my husband through his words is his depth of gratitude for the blessings of God in his life. Often he includes me on that list, for which I’m grateful!

Some of the most important words we share with each other are promises and commitments. Of course, these are only meaningful if our actions match. As this quotation says, “Words must be followed by deeds.” (Baha’u’llah, Tabernacle of Unity 4.9) And, we need to remember that our deeds communicate our attitudes, priorities, and caring. Where we put our time and the reasons for those choices convey information to each other.

It is easy at times in any close relationship to make assumptions and for miscommunications to happen. Checking out your understanding, practicing kindness and courtesy, giving each other the grace to make mistakes, and believing that your spouse or relationship partner really does want the best for you are all helpful in maintaining unity.

Please appreciate and practice all the ways that you can communicate with one another. Not everyone is good with words…many are better with deeds. Both are linked and important.

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