Shalom Bayit - Don't Fitness Test your Spouse

Elisheva Maline

Communication is the conveying of a message or series of messages from one being to another. That being said, non verbal communication i.e. body language, feminine intuition (and telepathy) are just as prevalent as using one's words when communicating with people. Let's take things a step further: positive messages act as strings which ensnare two beings together; the more often nice messages are used, "You look nice in yellow," "Dinner was fabulous," "I love you," the stronger the bond. On the other hand, negative communication... well, let's leave it at that.

Open communication is the common ground two or more people need in order to reach a place of understanding, an understanding which can only be attained through communicating. For the sake of tension, let's mention how much detail goes into transporting messages and ideas: the words themselves, timing (don't attack the man the second he walks through the door at six-thirty in the p.m.), tone of voice, facial expression and body language.  Most important, be a straight talker.  Don't force the other person to read between the lines. The sooner one becomes aware of how much goes into good communication the closer s/he will be to leading a happy marriage (or being on good terms with their spouse, friends, co-workers, the boss and school principle etc. etc.).

I once heard a wise man say that the emotional intelligence of a husband is the quality of the marriage. I already mentioned feminine intuition; we women got it in spades. Sometimes it feels almost as much curse as it does blessing. However, that's only when we expect the guys to understand that when something's bothering us, we're looking for our man to be stoic and reassuring, the old bulwark.

Do not fitness test, or stop fitness testing, your spouse, "How come you --?" or "Why don't you ever -- ?" etc. The results are almost always bad. Instead, communicate what you're really feeling. Open up. "I felt insecure when --" "My feelings were hurt that time that --" Common ground might actually be reached this way. In any case, at least now the spouse will be shining a beacon to where s/he wants the beloved to give love and support (Rabbi Yom Tov Glazer, The Possible You).

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