“Words are the source of misunderstandings.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery  

Having good communication is essential in ALL of our relationSHIPS.  Especially if it’s a dating or marital situation because in order for it grow and flourish, it’s imperative to communicate effectively.  But do we communicate effectively?  Years ago, John Gray, a relationSHIP counselor, wrote a book called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”  The book suggests that men and women are from different planets and as a result, our communication styles differ.  Men typically have a bottom line when they communicate. They respond to the asked question and try to avoid any further discussions or dialogue.  Whereas when women communicate, we hear the response but often want to further the discussion. Unfortunately, different communication styles can and do cause MISScommunication problems within relationSHIPS.  Have you ever experienced MISScommunication in your relationSHIP? Do you think men and women communicate differently?  I think we do!!  So, for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about MISScommunication!!

Men and women do communicate differently and in a relationSHIP that can be problematic. MISScommunication occurs when people ignore what they hear and see.  When we fail or refuse to acknowledge what we see or hear what is being communicated is the root cause of communication breakdowns.  Women have a tendency to hear our partner but think we can change or alter their thoughts or behaviors. For instance, if a man says, he doesn’t do housework, he probably won’t.  When we think he’ll change, instead of what he said, that’s MISScommunication

Last week, I witnessed a prime example of MISScommunication while watching Divorce Court with Judge Star Jones when a woman appeared seeking clarity on her relationSHIP. The case started off with MISScommunication when the judge asked if they were in a relationSHIP, she said YES, and he said NO. The man stated that their 15-year relationSHIP was never monogamous and that he had always seen other people. Tearfully, she expressed that through the years, she discussed her desire to be married and to have children. But when the judge probed, she admitted that they have never discussed marriage and had never had unprotected sex. The judge explained that his consistent use of protection, was him communicating that he didn’t want to have kids, or at least none with her.  Again, she looked surprised.  As the woman continued to discuss their 15-year relationSHIP, she also revealed that she’d never met anyone in his family.  He told the judge that he doesn’t let “just” anyone meet his family and she wasn’t worthy of meeting his family.  Although this man came off crass in court, he had been upfront and honest with her.  He communicated his boundaries and through his action, reinforced them.  He told her and showed her that he wasn’t interested in being anything other than bed buddies. She was devastated.  Gurl, this woman, this MISS put the MISS in MISScommunication!!  

Admittedly, I felt bad for the woman because she spent 15-years in a relationSHIP that was never going anywhere. But she was solely responsible for the  MISScommunication in this relationSHIP.   Even the judge told her that it was her own fault for not hearing and seeing his actions. The woman responded that she hung on to the relationSHIP because she hoped she could change his mind. She came to court playing the victim, singing a “he done me wrong” song and the judge saw right through it.  He wasn’t wrong, he was honest.  She just chose to ignore his communication and his actions because it didn’t align with what she wanted.   Don’t be like this woman.  Don’t waste your time in a relationSHIP that is going nowhere slowly.   Because in relationSHIPS, when there isn’t an open and honest conversation about what you’re feeling, expecting, or needing from your partner, MISScommunication is bound to happen.  So set clear expectations, make your wants and needs known, listen to your partner, acknowledge your differences and determine if it something you are willing to deal with.  Whatever it takes, do what you can to avoid MISScommunication in your relationSHIPS!!!

SHIP TALK: Do you think men and women communicate differently?

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