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Something that’s been really useful to me in marriage is speaking to the heart, rather than the words or the person. Another way of saying this is “divining intent.” Never mind the actual words, behavior, rationale, what is the heart’s intent here?

That is an extremely challenging form of communication, one I still struggle with after decades of practice. My hubby can be very bossy, dominating, quick on his feet when he wants to be. Believe it or not, I am actually right behind him, perhaps not quite as overwhelming, but pretty close when I have something to say. We can quite easily talk over one another, butt heads. It’s somewhat funny, hubby can soften his tone a bit, he’s a gentlemen sometimes, he understands you can’t just mow over women even when you think you’re right, but me,  I’m usually just prepared to go in for the kill.

Needless to say, killing him is not the goal of marriage, it is more about protecting connection, relationship. So I have really had to let go of the actual words being said, the potential lack of logic behind them, the issues being discussed, and simply attempt to divine what the heart is trying to say. This is not so easy if you tend to prefer to follow logic, reason, rational solutions to physical problems. Also, many men often like to think they’re being rational, reasonable, as if that somehow makes them right, but I haven’t found it to be true at all. Ha!

One of the best things hubby ever inadvertently said in the heat of the moment was, “I’m not trying to be reasonable,” because suddenly it all clicked in my head, this is actually an emotional issue,  a heart issue, a spiritual issue lurking beneath the surface, and here I am prepared to go to war over the physical manifestation of those issues, which at the time happened to be represented by where to put the flower beds.

Arguments are never really about the glass on the sink or the flowers beds, or at least that is only a tiny manifestation of what is going on emotionally and spiritually. At the time hubby was actually feeling dis-respected, over powered, over ruled, as if I had no appreciation for his landscaping skills, and in fact didn’t need him at all.

His heart was saying I want your admiration, your appreciation, I need to know I matter to you. His words were saying nothing of the sort. Ha! Never mind what his words were saying, but I assure you they weren’t touchy feely at all.

It can be very easy to get tangled up in the actual words being spoken, in the lack of logic behind the ideas being presented, and completely miss the intent, the heart issue that is lurking right beneath the words and trying to speak to you.

We have really both had to learn how to do this, how to divine intent, and to ask questions to see if we have gotten it right. There is a whole invisible language being spoken or attempting to be spoken that can be quite challenging to try to hear. To make matters worse, we sometimes don’t even always know what we’re trying to say ourselves.

One of the blessings of being married for a long time is that you begin to speak one another’s heart language, you begin to be able to divine intent, and often the intent that lurks behind the words is where the beauty in our souls is hidden.