Part of being a couples’ coach is allowing couples to replay their arguments and fights. This allows them to explain what frustrates them, and how they would like to see things be different in the future. But a new wrinkle has developed for me in my coaching ministry over the last year or two. As of late, I don’t just get the replay, I get the transcript.
As one person is kind of explaining to me the gist of the battle, the other says… “You want to hear exactly what she said? I have it right here in my texts…”
Then, I spend the next several minutes hearing the litany of texts that buzzed across the angry air waves during the worst of the fight. It’s as though they assume reading these texts will help me get the full picture of what was going on during the conflict. And I understand that logic. Yet, I will never have the full picture from those texts, and neither will they.
While those texts may serve as some sort of historic record of their fight, they don’t get close to touching the emotion that motivated the conflict. It’s simply words, often hurtful words, on a digital page—a very accurate he said/she said that represents a very small part of the big picture. Using texts and emails to communicate important personal messages is a bad idea because they so easily strip out the human elements of a conversation. There is no body language, no eye contact, and no tone of voice to help you interpret what’s being said.Texts and emails leave out the most important part of the conversation--the human element. Click To Tweet
That’s a real problem, because words by themselves are extremely subjective. With more than three meanings per English word (on average), and far more potential meanings when phrasing and sentence structure come into play, mere words often leave extremely broad room for interpretation. Those human cues that I mentioned before like tone of voice and body language are the very things we use to objectify words. We often know how to make sense of what a person is saying by how they say it. But texts, emails, and IM’s don’t give us anything to go on when it comes to interpreting messages.
Oops… my mistake… we have emoticons. That’s what digital communications have reduced human emotions to. Wow.Let's face it... emoticons are becoming the new way of communicating emotion. Scary. Click To Tweet
I myself am very guilty of this texting instead of talking thing. My wife and I recently had a disagreement, and I, being the spiritual pastor, servant/leader, and perfect husband that I am, lost my temper and told my wife exactly what she was doing wrong via text. As you might imagine, this added a special and profound blessing to her already stressful day. I might add, I was texting from a device that also has the ability to make person-to-person voice telephone calls. I chose the impersonal route instead.
Why do we do this? Why is it so much easier to shoot off a text instead of having a conversation? Maybe it’s because we’ve become impatient, and aren’t developing the capacity to wait for the right time and place to have difficult conversations. Maybe it’s easier to say things when we know we won’t have to face the response unless we want to. Or perhaps it’s because our culture continues to encourage us to deal with problems in less and less personal ways. Who knows? What I do know is that I fully support a resurgence of face-to-face, eye-to-eye, person-to-person communication. I believe our world would benefit from a little less texting and a little more quality conversation. We could do with fewer emails and more sit down meetings. Technology is great, and we should use it to communicate when necessary… but why not try in person first?
After all, isn’t a real smile better than : ) ?
If you like the Life in a Crazy World blog, why not share it with your friends? Click this link to share our blog signup link on your Facebook page. Thanks!Share our blog on your Facebook timeline!
Isn’t a real smile better than : ) ? Click To Tweet
The Blindfolded Marriage will help you understand the root issues that create difficulty and conflict in your marriage. Full of practical insight you can start using right away, Jonathan's book will both equip and inspire you to take your relationship to the next level.Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott | Authors of "The Good Fight"
This book will give you clarity in marriage that will be an impetus and help drive the desire to be healthier as husband and wife. ...Read this book, I promise you will recommend it to your friends.Johnny M. Hunt | Former President, Southern Baptist Convention Pastor, First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA
Jonathan's insights into marital breakdowns and marital repair are both profound AND easily understood. To take such difficult issues and put them into accessible stories and metaphors that speak to both genders makes this book a rarity among marriage books. Whether your marriage is good and you want to make it better, or if it feels like the wheels came off about 5 miles ago, this book will help everyone along that spectrum.Anita Renfroe | Speaker, Author
As an author, communicator, and sought after marriage coach, Jonathan has shared God’s message of hope, love and encouragement with thousands of individuals.
Jonathan and Wendy have been married for 12 years, and they have two precious daughters, Cheyenne and Summer.