Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
"But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'"1
Not so long ago two of my sisters and a brother-in-law from Australia visited us here in California. John, my brother-in-law came down with a heavy cold and was feeling lousy. He went to a local pharmacy to get some medication—or to try to get some. He spoke to the pharmacist (chemist, as he called him) and said in his heavy Aussie accent, "I have a dreadful cold and need some medicine todie."
"I beg your pardon," replied the pharmacist, "you want what?"
"I want some medicine todie."
"I can't do that for you," the pharmacist declared.
"But I'm feeling very sick and need help todie," John repeated, and for the life of him he couldn't understand why the pharmacist wouldn't help him. John ended up walking out of the pharmacy and came home very frustrated.
John and the pharmacist were both speaking the same language but neither one understood the other. When John, with his heavy Australian accent, said, "I need help todie," translated into American he was actually saying, "I need help today."
Needless to say when we "translated" for him, we all had a fit of laughter.
In relationships however, miscommunication can be the cause of considerable misunderstanding and conflict. Two partners or friends may be saying the same thing but each interprets it differently. When Joy and I have a disagreement (which is rare), it is almost always a communication problem. We misinterpret what the other had said. We think that what we think is what the other was thinking when they didn't say what we thought they said and didn't know what they were thinking. That's how confusing miscommunication can be.
So … three keys for effective relationships are: (1) communication, (2) communication, and (3) communication.
So again … all of us (including myself) need to stick to the old remedy by counting to ten before we fly off the handle when we are upset by what another has said. Before jumping to a wrong conclusion, ask, "I'm confused, did I hear you correctly?" Explain what you heard, and then ask, "Is this what you meant? If not, will you please explain so I don't misunderstand you?"
We have only communicated effectively when the listener interprets in his/her thinking as close as possible to what we meant in what we said. Something we all need to work on when communicating.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that even when I don't get my words right, you understand what my heart is saying. Please help me to do likewise with all my loved ones and friends. Help me, not only to be a good communicator in what I say, but also a good listener and in close relationships always listen with my heart as well as with my head. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Matthew 5:37 (NKJV).