What do you and your spouse talk about?
Do you even talk?
Honestly, I think information is exchanged between most couples… about the kids…about finances…about schedules… about other people…maybe a lot of other things. But talking? It’s something totally different.
Information exchange takes place at the surface. Talking wades into the deep end. Information exchange is all about passing on the data. Talking is all about expressing feelings and opinions and dreams and insights. Talking takes time. Talking takes self-awareness and the willingness to create a safe space for the other person.
Easier said than done.
I think one of the reasons for so little real talking in marriage is because of the safe space thing.
A safe space is a place where opinions and personal insights are free to be expressed and respected. A safe space is where we can say exactly what we think or feel without fear of repercussion or judgment. A safe space is where my take on any particular issue can be openly communicated without the discussion being reduced to competition.
My experience (in all relationships…including marriage) is that most people have a high need to be right. Which means the other person is wrong. And when that happens in a marriage, the safe space is blown away.
Surprise. I’ve got an opinion on just about everything. So does Wanda. And if you dig deep enough, we both have those opinions because we think we’re right. But the issue of “who’s right?” simply doesn’t come into play in our relationship.
We love to talk. Sure…we still talk about our kids. And finances and our schedules and other people. But that’s not all. We have always talked about politics and culture. We talk theology…end times and worship practice and ministry and miracles and Israel and giving our offering. We talk lifestyle and economics and global issues. For real.
And we don’t agree. On a lot of things. Over the forty-five years we have been together, we have had some pretty spirited debates. We have challenged each other’s positions and have both gone back to the drawing board to rethink our rightness. We have each changed our minds about serious issues.
But our space for talking has ALWAYS been safe. Always.
Neither one of us has a need to be right. Our boys would tell you they have never really seen us argue. They probably haven’t. It’s because we value our safe space to talk. We have always treasured the freedom we both have to see things differently and totally respect the distinctives we bring to the table.
Is your marriage a safe place? Have you outgrown your childish need to be right? Have you grown comfortable with silent (or loud) conflict? Is your marriage about talking…or has it been reduced to information exchange?
Raise the bar.