Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Clichés are common, overused phrases that have lost real meaning over time. We speak them so often, they don’t require a lot of effort to ask or answer. While impossible to avoid completely, clichés shouldn’t be the main way you communicate. Clichés are dangerous in your marriage for three reasons.Clichés are common, overused phrases that have lost real meaning over time. Click To Tweet
1. They’re confusing. Phrases like “how are you?” have been used so often, they lose their real meaning, and elicit perfunctory responses. Clichés are vague and easily misunderstood.
2. They’re lazy. What you receive often depends upon what and how you seek it. Vagueness offered will usually result in vagueness received. (Ask a vanilla question and you’ll get a vanilla answer.) Instead, dig deeper. Pause for just a moment, gather your thoughts rather than plunging into “the nightly script”, and ask a more precise question. You might be surprised at the specific response you get back.
3. They aren’t taken seriously. A cliché question usually communicates, “I really don’t care, it’s just something to say.” It’s a script to recite to begin at the beginning or end of the day.
Most clichés have simple fixes that show your spouse you are interested and you do care. Putting a little thought into reviving those worn-out phrases can make all the difference in your communication. Practice fine-tuning your inquiries in order to get more of what you want to know.
Here are some oft-used clichés and healthier alternatives to better communicate with your spouse.
Cliché #1: “How are you?” Replace with: “Let’s play high/low. What was your high (best part) and low (worst part) of your day?” Then share yours. Selma and I went on vacation and played that simple game every evening. It was amazing how it colored our conversation.
Cliché #2: “How was your day?” Replace with: “This morning you asked me to pray for your 2:00pm meeting today. I did. How did it go?”
Cliché #3: “How are you feeling?” “Is your throat as sore as it was this morning?”
Cliché #4: “Are you okay?” “Something is not clicking between us. Is there anything we need to discuss?” (Caution: Do not ask this question as the first question at the end of your day. It’s just not a great way to begin the evening. Save it for a little later.)
Cliché #5: “Anything new going on?” Replace with: “What is God teaching you lately?”Make yours an extraordinary marriage by having extraordinary talk. Click To Tweet
Finally, not thoughtlessly using clichés may mean you have to work at breaking the script. It can be tempting to slip into the default of mundane talk. However, breaking out of it will enrich your conversation as well as your marriage. Go beyond the usual. It is worth the effort. Make yours an extraordinary marriage by having extraordinary talk.