February 21, 2011

How is Your Tone of Voice and Facial Expression?

I have counseled many couples where the wife complains that the husband comes across as harsh and unloving. From her pink perspective, he is frowning with disapproval or sounding stern, even angry. According to his blue point of view, he is simply making his point firmly and accurately. He can be oblivious to the damaging effects of his angry glare.

At the same time I have had many wives tell me they know they are guilty of a negative tone of voice and a sour look on their face. They don’t necessarily sound harsh; theirs is more a tone of contempt, often accompanied by a rolling of the eyes. Many women think they are saying what needs to be said; they even think they are doing a good job of saying it respectfully. But they don’t see or hear what their husband sees and hears from his blue perspective.

Obviously, the harsh or contemptuous tone and the angry or sour look are mortal enemies of communication. Marital researchers agree that a huge percentage of communication problems between husband and wife are due not to what is said but to how it is said – the attitude and tone of voice.

We’ve all been there! Will you try something with me this week?

Husbands, before communicating with your wife, will you ask yourself this question? “Is what I am about to say going to result in my wife feeling loved or unloved?”

Wives, before communicating with your husband, will you ask yourself this question? “Is what I am about to say going to result in my husband feeling respected or disrespected?”

Pausing to ask these questions can do wonders for your marriage. Breaking old habits of reacting can be difficult, but it can be done if you truly want to make these changes.

Try it and let me know how it goes!

Dr. Emerson

No comments:

Blog Archive