It was so great seeing our friends this weekend in Atlanta. They are getting married in March and it was really nice being able to learn more about their wedding plans and give some (hopefully) helpful pre-marriage advice. Our friend’s fiancée found one of those online questionnaires that I am sure you have come across called, 70 Questions to Ask Your Significant Other Before Getting Married, and started going through the list with him a few weeks ago. His initial reaction to these questions was not one of enthusiasm, but I think there is some merit to these “getting to know you before I invest in our life together” questionnaires.
We have friends that are in serious relationships and married that fall on all levels of the spectrum. My husband and I have always been good communicators by nature, but even our very talkative selves really benefited from having a third-party ask us some tough questions before we got married.
Maintaining open lines of communication during particularly trying times is not only difficult, but it can be emotionally exhausting. In my opinion, this is when communication is most critical in a relationship. One of the best pieces of advice that have been shared with us, and that I shared with our friends, was the following:
Think of both parties in a relationship as different countries. Let’s say I’m Spain and my husband is Russia. When my husband describes something to me in Russian, it is likely I will misinterpret some aspect of what he is saying because I am from Spain. To eliminate this issue of things being lost in translation or misinterpretation, it is on me as the listener to say to my husband, “What I am hearing you say is ________,” and for him to either confirm that I am hearing him correctly, or clarify his message. This dance of “do you understand what I am saying” continues back and forth, until each party understands the other’s message. It may seem ridiculous, but this method can keep escalating emotions at bay, and lead to more productive conversation.
I wanted to share this little nugget today as my Sunday musing, because frankly, it’s something I need to be reminded of in my own relationship. So regardless of if you are in a relationship, or just dealing with someone in general, it’s good to keep in mind that we are all speaking our own language, and sometimes our words can get lost in translation.
If you have any marriage advice you’ve found extremely helpful, I’d love to hear it!