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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Speaking Your Spouse's Language

            Husbands and wives have been miscommunicating since the days Abraham and Sarah had a spat about Hagar in Genesis 16:1-6. H. Norman Wright, in his book Holding on to Romance, writes a chapter on how to speak your spouse's language.
            He writes that we all perceive the world through one of our senses - seeing, hearing and feeling. Usually one is dominant.
            A visual person, obviously, experiences the world through the eyes - memory is pictures. The visual person likes to look - movies, TV, sporting events, people, art exhibits, museums, scenery. A visual person tends to talk about how things look rather than how he/she feels. When a visual person gets upset, he or she tends to withdraw and sulk.
            Observe how Jesus appealed to visual learners - His use of the sparrows and the lilies of the field in Matthew 6. Look at Matthew 8:4; 13:13-17 and see how often Jesus calls on His audience to "See!"
            The auditory person is interested in hearing about life. This individual relates more to sounds than to sights. When an auditory person reads, he hears words rather than seeing pictures. So - don't expect an auditory person to pay much attention to a new piece of clothing, hairdo or a new flower you've planted in the yard. He/she is not going to notice it. The auditory person prefers talking about something rather than looking at it.
            Listen to Jesus call on auditory people to respond to Him: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15; James 2:5).
            Feelings people tend to touch a lot. They crave closeness, love and affection. They tend to be intuitive-type people - "right brain". Feelings-oriented people are easy to read - happiness, sadness, anger, love, delight are easily seen on their faces. They are concerned about how others feel about them.
            Their vocabulary tends to revolve around "feeling-oriented" words - like vibes, sense, and close - sensitive, "I like being near you." The feeling oriented person will say - instead of "It sounds good to me" - "It feels good to me" or "I'm comfortable with that." You communicate with a feelings oriented person through her emotions.
            Again, the Bible uses language that appeals to feelings-oriented people: "For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come" (Hebrews 6:4-5). See also Matthew 16:28 and Psalm 34:8; 119:103.
            To communicate more effectively with our spouse, we need to learn their dominant love language and try to communicate with them in those terms.
--Paul Holland

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