To actually hear what my wife is saying is both one of the hardest challenges I face and one of the most rewarding. It isn't that she's a bad communicator, but for some reason I just don't want to hear. Maybe I don't want to change direction or even just pause to consider her way of seeing the situation.
In some important ways my wife Brenda and I are very different. Male - Female, is one obvious difference. I grew up going to almost every different school in my district. Brenda went to school with basically the same kids from kindergarden to high school graduation. I like to change for the sake of a change. She generally likes to keep things in their place. Her father is a blue collar Catholic. My father is a white collar Protestant. She is an introvert. I'm an extrovert. I'm half Dutch. She's half Italian. When we have an argument I stay calm and manipulate, while she turns red, cries and looks for things to throw at my head.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said. -Peter Drucker
Recently I discovered that winning an argument is actually losing - in this strange world of love relationships. I am slowly reorienting myself to what I would like to call deep listening. This is the kind of listening that hears what is not spoken. In deep listening I begin to actually feel what she is feeling. This kind of listening results in a shift that can allow for change on a very deep level.
We both know our differences are not in our relationship to destroy us. The differences are there to round out our personal, individual experiences into something much larger. Our differences give us the broader bandwidth to pick up a much stronger signal and tons more stations. What could it look like if we found a way past the petty annoyances? How can we find a way into the deeper truth that happens when two very different people manage to merge their points of view? A couple who finds a way to stay in the position of deep listening will find there is no valley too low and no mountain too high.