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The Relationship-Killer

Every relationship type has its unique type of communication. This article deals with the most intimate of them;                      dating and marriage.

It is of utmost importance in our romantic relationships that we men strive to understand our woman. As the book spells out, we must embark on a deliberate campaign to learn as much as possible about womankind in general, but also to study our own partner. There are things that apply to all women, and there are things that are unique to our own special woman.

And the single most important manner in which we obtain this crucial data, is in our conversations. So we must seek to master the art of communication. Communication can be verbal, but there is much importance in watching the non-verbals. How things are said, and the mannerisms that accompany the words said are vital. 

Together-time, where you can see facial expressions and body language, must overwhelmingly be the highest percentage of your total communication time with each other. Phone time and texting should be used primarily for making arrangements to actually be together. There are, of course, exceptions, but it should be a pattern.

As a side note here, the book goes into detail about the value of "away time", meaning time spent NOT with her or talking or texting her. Never fatigue her with your constant presence, or too eager attention. "Always leave them wanting more" as the saying goes. And this pattern must continue for the life of the relationship. Always have something important you are doing with your life, a cause or a purpose. Have a hobby that gets you out with other men or groups that do not include her. She needs the time away from you as well. Give her a chance to need you.

Now let's get to the core of communication in a romance. There will be times when you misinterpret something she said, did, or did not say or do. It will feel like an insult, or offense, or attack, or disrespect, or unforgiveness, or any host of negative feelings. 

Please trust me, you cannot afford to react!

You also do not need to respond immediately. Take a breath. Think about the moments leading up to the "insult". Is there any detail you can see? The last thing you need to do is misinterpret her motive. In fact, the best thing you can do is assume a permanent and overarching perspective that she did not mean to harm you, no matter how intense or hateful it may seem. Forgive her in your mind immediately.

Take a breath. Ponder the words. Allow time for the shock to wear off. Give God time to speak to her. This could last a minute or ten minutes, or sometimes, your delay could last days. Meanwhile, you can continue to live life as though nothing happened if your delay needs to go on for more than a few minutes. She may soon, to your astonishment, come back to you and apologize. But this may not happen. Especially if she does not even realize how her words affected you.

That was Phase 1, Pause. Phase 2 is Look Inward. Check your own possible causes for her apparent indignation. Was it an understandable reaction to your own poorly executed words or behavior? If you are clearly aware of something, your apology may be in order. Your hurt feelings, however, need to be dealt with. Determine if it is a hill worth dying on. Pick your battles carefully. Maybe give her some grace and move on. But if it continues to bother you, some further discussion is in order.

Phase 3 is Engage. You cannot use man language, (that's another article). You must use woman language. And woman language is almost always feeling-based. This is not a weakness. It is as valid as your logical mindset is. But if you want to succeed in your skills of communication you need to learn how to couch your thoughts in an emotion framework.

An example would be, "Hey Vanessa, I have a question. When you said < comment >, what did you mean?"...or something like that. Then let her answer. That could actually clear up everything right there. 

But there are times when she does not clear it up by her answer. You may need to extend the conversation by saying something like, "I am not sure if you intended to, but it felt like you were trying to sort of get in a dig. Am I misreading that?" She may then remember more accurately the incident and explain herself better. You may want to describe your feelings in that incident, and she may learn something about how she comes across, unintentionally. 

Try this one, "Honey, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, and I am constantly learning more about you, and women in general, but those comments made it feel like disrespect, or somehow you were angry about something else. Is there anything else you need to say to me? I promise I am just trying to learn you and you won't make me angry by anything you say, since I am sort of asking for it."

You have done several things in this kind of comment. You are subtly communicating the concept of respect, and that you expect it from her. You are asking her for more clarity, which gives her the sense of being heard, very sexy! (Good listening is a major component of good communication and is covered thoroughly in the book.) And thirdly, you are creating the atmosphere of Safety, a major pillar of true manhood. And it is Phase 4, Safe Space. If it is difficult for her to trigger you to anger, she will "feel" safe.

So there are four Phases of feedback-communication:

Pause,  Look In,  Engage,  Safe Space.

These are necessary for times when we men get these thoughts in our mind, accusations that form in our mind in reaction to some negative feeling we tend to feel because of something said or done by the most significant human in our life, our wife or potential wife.

Do your relationship a favor. Do not let a mental accusation to fester and rot. Get rid of it. Discuss it. Gently, lovingly get to the bottom of it, the truth about it. 

If you will not be carefully thorough with this skill,          your relationship will fail.

Misinterpretation vs Communication

The Devil's information warfare.

We have an enemy. He does not know he has lost, or at least behaves as though he has not lost. We need to remember our enemy is and will always only be Satan and his legions, and that they have lost. The enemy will never be the girlfriend/wife! Please burn this into your brain.

God created us for relationship. It is by healthy relationships that life has meaning, beauty, and prosperity. It is through the relationships we create, no matter how recent, that we introduce others to Christ the Savior, the ultimate relationship. Therefore, since God regards relationship as the ultimate mission, is it any wonder relationships of all sorts have become the central target of Satan and his legions?

I will focus this time on the most intimate human relationship; marriage, and pre-marriage. We have friends, and then we have girl-friends. As Christians, the girlfriend relationship will always be in the back of our mind as the potential pre-wife. So this article also refers to her.

This is what Satan does: He injects errors into conversations. I do not know the mechanics here, but it is like things I say, or mean to say, get regularly turned sideways, and the things I hear as the man, coming from the girlfriend/wife, are also likely to get twisted on their way into his brain. Perhaps we have slightly different definitions of a particular word. (That happens a lot.) Perhaps we get micro-triggers when certain words are said and it gets us off track from listening, and we miss key words that, when missing, create a completely different message than what was intended.

I do not believe we are treating our communications with the due diligence required to prevent even the smallest error in perception, and it could destroy a valuable relationship. The military has figured this out. They realize that one vowel or consonant in a received or sent transmission could literally spark the next war, and they are very careful in training translators and their code decryption specialists, and in how they word their “marching orders”.  They give names to individual letters, such as the letter “A” is called Alpha, all to remove all doubt as to the meaning and intent of the message. Do you get the idea?

But the error is inevitable. So what is the remedy? I believe the couple must be willing to say hard things. They need to feel safe to say what they feel and what they believe about the other person, or the relationship, without being attacked for it, or becoming defensive. They need to create a system, a device, wherein they feed back to each other, as soon as possible, the fact that what the other person said or how they said something caused the negative feelings of rejection, disrespect, insult, belittling, etc. 

They must not “stuff” it. It is foreign to healthy living, and it will rot in there. Get it out a.s.a.p. It must however be done in gentleness and in kindness, and eventually, maybe even make it a little playful. If there is a healthy pattern established, it can become extremely liberating and freeing, as the sense of safety will be strong.

So this is how you do it. You must both agree to do this, and you must be honest, even at the risk of angering the other person. Man, tell your woman how she can communicate to you (in a way that is sexy), that she felt a little anger from you/disrespect/meanness/etc. when you said whatever. Maybe she can place her hand on your chest, look up at your eyes with her big brown eyes, and smile, and say, “Honey/sugar/loverboy, you know when you said, ‘That was dumb’, when I was sharing about our campout? That felt like you were judging me and it stings. What were you trying to say?”  Likewise, she may want him to hug her in a private room and tell her that what she said felt like disrespect, or was a little hirtful, and ask her what she meant, or is there something on her mind.

Couples are mirror-bearers of each other’s flaws. Don’t use it as a control weapon, and do not be offended. It is a gift. And both parties must accept the shortcomings of the other as a given, but also to express the items that can cause harm. Choose to love in spite of all the annoying little things. Give each other some room to fail, but still know you are accepted and loved. Don’t take it personally. This must always be done as soon as possible, with gentleness, and with complete honesty. Never do it while you are angry. You must reassert to each other, that you are being honest because you want to protect the relationship, not ruin it, using your own words of course.

Apologize, explain the details, express your love and commitment to each other, that you want the best relationship, and be thankful for the room to express the hurt feelings.

Kiss…then have sex as soon as possible…if you are married.

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