Wednesday, June 24, 2020

5 Ways to Avoid Misunderstanding

By: Jenifer Metzger

*This article is a repost from a Marriage Monday in 2017. It is something that I have seen in the news and in person as well as personally experienced lately. While this post is specifically talking about marriage, it absolutely applies to all relationships. I think we can all use a reminder from time to time!

One of the biggest communication struggles, especially in a marriage, is misunderstanding. Misunderstandings happen for many reasons. Reasons like we are not fully engaged in the conversation or when our hearts are holding onto a grudge with the person we are having a conversation with.

How can we avoid misunderstandings with our spouse?

Pay attention to the conversation.

When we are busy doing other things while our husband is talking, we are not giving the conversation our full attention. This can result in missing a point or mixing up words. When your husband is talking, pay attention to him, not your phone, laptop or tv. Thankfully, everything on your phone, tablet and laptop will be right there waiting for you when you get back to it. And most tv providers have a glorious pause button. Whatever is happening, ask yourself if it is more important than listening to your husband. The answer will likely be no. Look in his eyes and intentionally listen.

Let go of hurt, anger and grudges.

When our husband tries to talk to us and we are already upset, the defenses go up making us ready to fire back. When we are set up for attack, we are not fully paying attention and we might miss what is really happening. If you are upset, however, not upset with your husband, take a deep breath and calm down before the conversation. Do not misdirect your anger at him. Maybe explain to him that you are upset and ask him to pause and give you a hug before you will be able to fully listen. That connection with your husband will do wonders! If it is him you are upset with or hurt by, again take a deep breath and calm down first. By going into the conversation ready for battle, it is only going to lead to more misunderstand and more hurt.

Hearing versus listening.

It is easy to hear what is being said. But we have to learn to really listen to what is being said. Listen with your heart, not just your ears. Is he trying to share his heart with you? Is he trying to share his dreams with you? Try to feel what he is feeling and where he is coming from. See things from his perspective.

Ask questions.

Always ask questions. I have learned with my children to ask questions. When I give instruction, I ask them to repeat what I said so that I can make sure they understood. When they tell me something, I repeat what they say. This shows them I was listening and it reassures me that I didn't miss anything. Ask your husband questions about what he said to verify that you heard correctly.

Face to face for the biggies.

Having a conversation via texting or even social media is always convenient. Phone calls are even great. My husband's job is not really conducive to phone calls and when he is working, well, face to face is out of the question since I am home. So when he is at work, we text. Then he can answer and reply as his time allows. The problem with these communication avenues is it is nearly impossible to hear a person's tone of voice through a tiny screen. It's often hard even on a phone call. We hear something and we assume it is meant one way when it is really meant another way. This makes the chance for misunderstandings very high. If there is a larger issue you need to discuss, wait until you are face to face. Things like issues with the kids, bills, disagreements, and the like, those need to be done face to face.

This are just 5 way to avoid misunderstanding. What are other ways you can think of to keep misunderstandings at bay?

It's time for Share A Link Wednesday! Each Wednesday we invite you to leave a link to your latest blog post in the comments. We still desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories.


  1. One of my early watchwords was to never assume (with husband or children or anyone). I used to walk in on my children fighting or arguing and jump right in, but often my assumptions about what had happened were faulty. Similarly, if I assign motives to my husband's words or actions, they can often be the wrong ones, and I've gotten upset and caused dissension over nothing.

    Another is to communicate desires or needs and not to expect him to be a mind-reader.

    My post this week:

  2. I think one of the things I have learned is to process what I am thinking and feeling before entering into a discussion on it.
    My post today:

  3. I love your 5 points, Jenifer! So important!!! We have a great post going over at InstaEncouragements on Embracing Your Past: Regret's Role in Redemption

  4. Interestingly, I have a son who has CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) - and he doesn't hear tone. Add that people with CAPD are literalists - and face-to-face communication can become a mine field. (Which I understand because I hear that way, too). Often, we communicate much better in writing/texting - there's no misunderstandings, no facial expressions getting in the way of the words. I have learned in communicating with my husband over serious things - sometimes I need to let the words settle in - and the emotions sift out before I can respond to those conversations. After the settling, then I can return to the conversation and a real conversation takes place - but I have to sort the emotions out of it.

  5. I was reading a devotional today on controlling your anger before speaking to someone about what they did and how it hurt you. It also talked about learning to let go of anger except in justifiable situations which are few and rarely an issue between two people.
    Your post reinforces these points. Thank you.


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