Your Spouse’s Language

A tourist from Germany was lost in Paris.  He pulled up to a bus stop where two Americans stood waiting.

“Entschuldigung prechen Sie Deutch?” he asked.  No answer from the puzzled looking Americans.  “Parlez-vous fracais?” he enquired.  Again, no answer; just confused stares.

“Palate italiano?”  No answer.

Finally, they said, “Hablan ustedes espanol?”  Still, the Americans couldn’t understand.  The Germans drove off irritated.

One American looked at the other and said, “We really should learn a foreign language.”

“Why,” replied the other, “Those guys knew four and it didn’t do them any good.”

We’ve known many husbands and wives who felt like learning “a new language” wouldn’t do any good.  Many have lost hope in the potential of every really understanding their spouses.  Have you thought that you needed to learn an entirely different language in order to understand your spouse?  How many times do you feel like you’ve changed languages to communicate better with your husband or wife?

Don’t give up!  Keep trying!  “Never tire of doing what is right” (2 Thess. 3:13).  Here are some pointers that might help.

  • Listen first.  This is not just one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This is from the pages of wisdom.  “He who answers before listening, that is his folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13).
  • Don’t use profanity.  Even in jest, unholy words are going to hurt not help.
  • Filter all your words through the E429 filter:  “… only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
  • Listen first.  “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).
  • Don’t get defensive.  Defensiveness rarely helps you reach your communication goals.
  • Complain if you must, but don’t be contemptuous.  Complaining is making a comment about an issue.  Being contemptuous is complaining about the person.
  • Listen first.  You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak!
  • 2 thoughts on “Your Spouse’s Language”

    1. I like this… four languages and it didn’t do them any good!

      Thank you for the reminders that we need to filter, and that we should be thoughtful about the filter we use. Words are so powerful and live on in memory, whether good or bad. And the funny thing is that some things I’ve said that were unimportant to me have come back as very important to Rob…whether it was something positive or negative, I don’t always know the impact of my words until I see how they are interpreted…like a foreign language.

      1. It is a great story, Sheila. And it is a great thing to learn your spouse’s language in particular, but while you are picking it up, it’s important to remember that words of love, grace, and appreciation – without negative qualification – is beneficial for everyone. Thanks for the comment!

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