As children we enjoyed playing the role of secret agents who sent each other coded messages in class, coded just in case the note was intercepted by one of the enemy agents (the teacher, or the obnoxious class clown, both of whom would read intercepted uncoded notes out loud to the whole class, to our eternal embarrassment).
As adults now in marriage relationships, we too often subconsciously and consciously still utilize coded messaging in our communications. Only this time, we aren’t afraid of a teacher or a class clown, we are afraid of fear and pride. The thought of clear communication can at first make us feel vulnerable (fear) or humiliated (pride).
Coded messages (as opposed to clear communication) are words, phrases, and body language that say one thing but mean another. A simple example would be where “Would you like some salt?” isn’t really a question, but actually means “Please pass the salt to me.” Of course, this isn’t a big deal, but it’s something simple to illustrate how the really important subjects of life in a marriage can be distorted.
The more complex the issue, the more uncomfortable the subject, or the more intimate the level, the less likely a person will just naturally be clear and uncoded in their communication. Clear, uncoded communication for most people requires a deliberate development and practice in their lives.
It is a research-verified and observable fact that women have a much greater capacity and propensity to verbalize than men. But men can be just as much coders as women, they just might use fewer words in their coded messaging.
The need for clear, uncoded messaging is taught in scripture. Each message must be communicated with clarity, or else it develops a problem. As this principle is true for the church as a whole, it is also true in a marriage or in any other kind of relationship.
“Even in the case of… the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes…
So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words… how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air…
If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.”
~ 1 Corinthians 14:7-11
It is never too late to start uncoding our communications. We may have already missed out on a lot, frustrated one another a lot, even angered each other a lot with our coded messaging that our spouse never quite figured out the key for deciphering, but that is in the past.
Start fresh today by sharing with your spouse your personal intention to discontinue the encoding of your own messaging. Then, as you do that, the benefits of your clarity will bring more joy, and they themselves will soon follow suit. You and your spouse will no longer be “foreigners” to each other.
#PastorsTip #1Corinthians14 #Code #Communication #Messaging #Clarity #Distinct