In our book, Called Together, we have a premarital section on communication. It’s the longest chapter in the book. Within those pages there is a quote from author Norm Wright that goes like this, “Communication is: 7 percent words (content), 38 percent attitude (tone of voice) and 55 percent body language.” Believe me, your children know to respond quickly when they hear their first, middle and last name at heightened volume while you are moving toward them with something in hand. They understand these percentages!
In a marriage, we can say the right words and a totally different message is received. For example, say your wife beats you home from work and she begins thinking about how she has missed you and in her mind begins to formulate her greeting to you. She awaits full of anticipation. But you had a pretty rough day and have not completely made the transition from foreman to husband as yet. You walk in the door with your (proverbial) foreman hat still on as your wife moves toward you, smiling and saying how nice it is to see you. She goes on to say that see missed you and she loves you. To all of this you say, “Yeah, yeah, I love you too, where’s the mail?” Did your wife catch or even hear those “I love you “ words tucked in the middle of that sentence? I doubt it. The next time you’re tempted to respond glibly, stop what you are doing, look at your spouse, listen to him or her and then respond in kind with tone of voice and body language all adding to the message.