Often it is what we don’t say that makes the loudest noise. All these years that I have been working with couples, and it is rarely that they complain about what was said. It is usually what they didn’t say.
It is true that words can have a lasting effect on us. Some of us are carrying around past hurts and resentments from years ago. But generally what finds a couple in my office is what is not being said. Their lack of communication. And while I tend to put more credence in non verbal communication, there has to be some balance with the spoken word. One common example is that I believe we can show we love our partner far more effective non verbally, than saying I love you. But just because that is my belief, I still desire to hear my wife say that she loves me, or that she is proud of me. While I know she does, it is still nice to hear.
Using the above example of the power of non verbal communication, couples often end up in my office because they do not verbalize their love. I hear language like “If I didn’t love you, would I do…?” Or, “I wouldn’t still be with you if I didn’t love you.” And while there maybe a ring of truth to that, that should not negate our responsibility to verbally communicate with our loved ones. Spoken word can set the tone for our day. For when we don’t, it is that thunderous silence that we often hear.
The healthiest relationship have a beautiful balance between words and action. As if it is a choreographed dance to a music that only they understand. But we all recognize it. Most of us know that one couple that seems to always be clicking. That no matter what is happening in their lives, they seem united and unshakable. And if that’s not your relationship, maybe communication (or lack therof) is the culprit. But don’t despair. This beautifully blended communication takes work. It takes honesty and being vulnerable to master. But when it is achieved, there is nothing else like it.
Don’t let your pride get in the way.
Cultivate the art of spoken word. It is relationship skill 101. All those non verbal gestures that we do are worth their weight in gold. But don’t underestimate the words that leave your lips. If you need to hear something in your relationship, don’t let your pride get in the way. Don’t think that if you have to ask, then it doesn’t count. Of course it counts. That’s like saying you won’t ask your partner to do the dishes while you put the kids to bed. It’s just as valid. Both make you feel better and your life a little easier. So, it’s okay to ask.
Because if we don’t communicate what we need, we run the risk of hearing the loudest noise. And that noise is the sound of the words that you so desperately desire to hear. Don’t let your silence be deafening.