Consider these possible causes.
As couples get older, new problems can crop up in a marriage. The problems are sometimes relational, and sometimes they are physical. Sometimes they are physical and relational.
Meet Wilbur and Myra.
Wilbur is having a heck of a time with his hearing, and it’s driving Myra absolutely batty. First, she has to repeat everything 16 times. But even when Wilbur thinks he understands, he often ends up surprised.
He gets peas when he thought cheese was on the menu. He’s taken aback when Myra comes to cut his hair when he was all set to enjoy the day at the fair.
You’ve seen it, haven’t you. Maybe you are living it. Bless your heart.
Modern science may be able to help them out. A new study on barn owls is helping researchers make progress in possible solutions to correct hearing loss in humans. But for now, couples like Myra and Wilbur are just going to have to be patient and work through things.
Myra and Wilbur cannot really help the struggles they are going through. Dealing with the types of adjustments that come with age is something we’ll all have to face eventually. They didn’t bring it on themselves, it’s just a natural part of life.
Many of us are giving Myra and Wilbur a run for their money in the misunderstanding department, though. Most of the time, we bring it on ourselves. Here are some reasons we miss hearing what our spouse is saying.
- We’re in an awfully big hurry. When you’re going a hundred miles an hour , you miss things. Should you really be surprised when your spouse can’t remember details and keep track of expectations? Your wires get crossed when there is so much information to manage.
- We’ve become really distracted. In addition to the quantity of information there is to manage, there may be issues of the quality of listening going on with some of us. Our obsession with gadgets and social media give us less time to talk, and don’t help us concentrate on one another when we do. Be honest with yourself about how your phone, computer or television affect your ability to have meaningful conversations. Be intentional about focusing on your spouse when you do have a conversation.
- We haven’t learned the best way to communicate with our spouse. Even if you’re not distracted or in a hurry, understanding the when and how to have meaningful conversations with your spouse is vitally important. Sometimes more words don’t equal a better conversation. Other times, understanding the best time or place to bring up a difficult topic might help you avoid unwanted conflict. The goal is to communicate effectively. This can have a positive and lasting impact in your relationship. Great communication skills may not come easily to you, but they are worth developing. You will probably feel more like you are being heard, and you will almost certainly become a better listener.
There are going to be enough challenges for your marriage that emerge naturally as you age, or as life simply blows in the occasional storm that you have to negotiate. Don’t create unnecessary challenges for your relationship by living life at too quick a pace or failing to focus on your spouse. And don’t forget to take the time you need to learn how communication works best in your marriage.
Otherwise you may end up with something that you weren’t expecting, and didn’t want. Just ask Wilbur.
Build communication skills by taking a nine week marriage course like Dynamic Marriage or United. You and your spouse will be glad you did!