Depending on who you talk to communication is about 90% non-verbal. Non-verbal? Isn’t communicating the art of talking? Yes. However, talking is only about 10% of the skill of communicating. We are always communicating even when we are not talking. A good example of non-verbal communication is when a teenager rolls their eyes in response to something that they do not want to do. This simple act can send a parent into orbit.
I have learned over the past 20 plus years of providing therapy that there are many layers to communicating. Often when two people are attempting to discuss a problem they are not on the same page. It will not do any good if I am talking about baseball and you are thinking basketball. As the couple attempt to narrow the discussion down to just one problem they will discover many related problems along the way. I recommend that they write down these related problems that will be discussed at a later time. Once this is done then we can look at the two things. First, one or both of you have a need. A need is not a want. I need a car, I want a convertible. After the two people in a relationship are able to agree on what the problem is or what is being discussed then the next question is to ask, “What is it that you are needing?” This is where the couple can find some common ground. Where can we compromise? The art of compromising is becoming aware that the two people in the relationship share in the problem. They do not share equally. It could be a 90/10 or a 20/80 but it is a sharing of the problem. Since one person cannot effect change in the other person then it is best to focus on what you, the individual can do to accept your ownership of the problem and develop a plan to improve on your part of the problem.
One of the difficult parts of therapy is to seek the solution to your problem from within. Often we look at the other person and believe that if they would just get their act together then all the problems would be resolved.
Matthew 7:1-5English Standard Version (ESV)
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Effective communication takes work!