Communication is Very Fragile

This is a phrase I heard at least a bajillion times -- give or take a million -- as a senior in high school. I went to a Christian high school and had Bible every year as an academic class. My senior year the entire class was about marriage. We had many different topics and assignments, but this phrase stands out more than any other: "Communication is very fragile."

Think about it. The WAY you say something can change an entire meaning. "Thanks a lot!" said sincerely with a smile invokes warm fuzzies. "Thanks a lot!" with an eye roll and sneer shows you honestly didn't appreciate my input at that moment.

You may have heard me say I struggle with migraines. Obviously, in the middle of a horrible migraine, not only do I not think very clearly, I don't express myself well. I try not to make any big decisions or business decisions, but when migraines start piling up, sometimes life has to carry on no matter what.

Last night we had a laughable miscommunication. When you have one party with a migraine and the other party happens to be a 13 year old boy, chances are good that communication will break down at some point. I made myself some dinner then crawled back to my bed. Trying to tell Riley to put my leftovers in the refrigerator, he evidently heard "throw them away" (it's a long story, but something was to be thrown away, too... just not my dinner). Communication is very fragile.

Things like this happen so frequently in relationships: marriages and/ or friendships alike. I'm still grieving a friendship to someone who understood me to mean one thing at one point when I meant something entirely different -- and let it go almost a year before I finally asked what the problem in our relationship was. At that point, a few more things had built up, and the relationship is beyond repair at this point. Communication is very fragile.

Ask. Clarify. What I usually say to Riley, when I don't feel as if my head is about to roll off my shoulders is, "Tell me what you understand you are to do." Then he will repeat to me what he thinks his task is (throw my food away) and we can clear things up then. I am thankful when people believe that our relationship is worth the asking and clarifying.

Very early in our marriage, leaving the house on a Christmas morning, I was complaining that the only pictures one ever takes of me was on Christmas and my hair was stupid that day. The way I worded made it sound (to Troy) like I thought he was being an insensitive oaf at the moment. Communication is very fragile. And I was so thankful he said something!

Oh -- and texting and emailing: throws a whole level of potential snafoos into communication! Ask and clarify. Ask and clarify. Communication is very fragile.

Relationships that are worth investing in don't just happen along. If you have any in your life: friendships, family, or a marriage, don't let a miscommunication trash it. Ask and clarify.


Jeannie Burlowski said...

I too am grieving a dear friendship that ended abruptly and irreparably after I didn't answer an email fast enough in 2006. I still feel the wound every time I drive by her house. Please, everyone: just CALL for God's sake!!!!

Roxanne said...

Excellent post.

Sarah said...

Oh, sweet Jeannie -- you sound like me. We take it on, don't we? I know you have mentioned it to me before. I'm still so sorry -- and I'm still hurt, too. Wish my friend had thought our relationship valuable enough to say, "You know..." but I cannot take on that. I pray every time she comes to mind to love her, forgive her, and let her go.

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