Realization #84: Can you Clarify? What Did You Mean by That?


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You all know communication is so important in a relationship; I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of that. So instead, in this post, I wanted to share with you a revelation (or rather realization, if we’re keeping with the theme of this blog) that my husband and I discovered the other day.

We were in the car driving home from our parents and were talking about something. I figure the content of our conversation was important at the time, but I can’t remember what it was about anymore. I do remember how the conversation dynamic flowed.

At one point during the conversation, my husband said something to me and I immediately was taken aback. I started processing in my head why he would say something like that, how he could say something like that and so forth.

Then, something strange and out of character happened. I stopped my progression of thoughts, turned to him and asked, “Can you clarify? What did you mean by that?” 

When I asked these two questions, it came out a bit harsh I’ll admit. I asked, but ‘them was fighting words’ too, if you know what I mean.

My husband’s answer though eliminated any need for that. He explained what he meant by his prior statement… It was NOT at all what I thought he meant. What he said and intended, and what I heard and thought he intended were two completely different things. In fact, we were on the same page. Potential argument averted.

“Oh!” I responded back to him. “Isn’t it a good thing to clarify what the other person is saying instead of assuming the worst?” He nodded.

“Good…” I added. “Now remember that when I say something you take the wrong way!” He smiled. “Yes, babe…” Now that is something totally within my character to say! ;)

He knew what I was getting at. Often times, arguments arise in a marriage because of misunderstanding and miscommunication. We hear and interpret things our spouse says in a way that perhaps they did not intend. And unfortunately, we tend to interpret things in a negative way, put up our guard and retort back negatively and so the cycle continues.

However, if we were to stop for a moment and ask our spouse whenever we are confused by something they said, “Can you clarify? What did you mean by that?”, there is potential to stop the negative energy. You give your spouse the chance to explain themself and allow yourself time to rethink and understand what they are really trying to say without assuming. Try it next time and see how it goes. Just remember to ask the questions nicely!


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