This post was first published by Family Life and is used here by permission
I want to talk about just how important it is for us to learn to express ourselves well in marriage; the value of ‘packaging’ our words well for greater affect. The words we say, and how we say them can have a huge affect on the positive … or negative atmosphere of our home.
Let me illustrate:
Consider the amazing difference between these two simple statements:
“What’s wrong with you?”
or “What’s troubling you?”
Can you hear the difference? What would you rather hear?
“What’s troubling you?” is received as a genuine sense of interest and concern, whereas “What’s wrong with you?” is heard with a sense of contempt.
Now, it may be that the person expressing, “what’s wrong with you?” is genuinely trying to express concern, but it isn’t received that way.
Having worked in marketing for a few years I know that the packaging of a product is just as important as its design, or even a great product wont sell. Books are always judged by their covers, and perfumes are sold by the attractive curves of their bottles. When it comes to the success of a product, packaging is almost everything.
But strangely, when it comes to communication in marriage, packaging is often ignored.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to speak the truth in love. In communicating with our partners, truth should supply the content, and love should supply the package. All of us need to become packaging experts because in communication, as in manufacturing, packaging is everything.
Consider your words as a gift. Package them carefully so they are received the way you intended.
In most cases, it doesn’t take much imagination to see the benefits of speaking the truth in love. Yet it’s so easy at times to ignore this critical phase of the process, and then when our message fails to win the respect and appreciation we hope for, we can’t imagine what went wrong. Maybe the problem wasn’t with the message at all; maybe it just needed a better package.
What do you prefer, “Whats wrong with you?” or “What’s troubling you?”
Which package would you rather buy?