For many, making everything work with your spouse involves mastering a new language. For others, it involves recalling something second nature but forgotten.
Question: How would you communicate with the other half of your brain if the only way to do so was through spoken word?
Is spoken word enough to get the precise meaning of your thoughts across? Can body language add anything? What is the secret ingredient, so to speak, of a successful marriage?
The Necessity of Language
Language bridges the gap between what you imagine and what the world around you actually is. The image in our head needs language to become reality. Anything that aids in this realization process is a part of language. Words are clearly language, but so is any action towards the realization of that goal.
People move and are moved principally by spoken word, but even starting my car involves language. We can not speak our intentions to a car yet through other means of communication cars roar to life. Language is more than just words, we communicate our intentions through our action.
As critical as language is to our society, we constantly struggle with dissonance: “Why didn’t that go as planned?” The way I see it, energy of spoken word and conscious action leaving our body is subject to the forces of outside influencers. Actions and words made real by the thoughts of others shape the world we live in at the exact same time we are trying to shape the very same world. I may have started my car, but a sudden phone call stops me in my tracks. Things do not always go our way because our thoughts are not alone. We are surrounded by billions of creatures (not only human!) with their own stream of consciousness bringing about change through their words and actions.
With the exception of close family members who share similarities in how we communicate, and perhaps even in how we think, communicating our thoughts to other people takes tremendous effort. Discouragingly enough, the closer emotionally we are to someone the more we expect communication to become second nature, when in reality the opposite is often true. Conveying our intentions to our friends and spouse requires patience, an open mind and heart, and an understanding of the gap between our thoughts.
As much as they complete us, our spouse has different communication methods and thoughts unique to ours. Marriage makes us familiar by law, but only time and effort can make it easier to communicate with one another.
So what does it mean to master a language and how is the language of marriage different? Correct sentence structure and vocabulary, though important, are not the critical components. Spoken word and body language lend to efficiency, but they can be vague and sometimes leads to frustrating confrontations. A master accepts differences, and smiles in the face of misunderstanding. In fact, a master of language is encouraged by setback, rising to the challenge by something deeper: love.
Love forgives when conflicts arise that have no immediate solution, offers patience when explaining the same concept for the umpteenth time, and smooths the edges of incomplete thoughts. Love gives rise to spontaneity and — most importantly — understanding. Mastering a language involves love for your fellow man and a desire to convey your thoughts and treasure the words they have decided to offer to you. Language learning without love is doomed to only ever be an unfulfilling chore. Love is the final step to mastery. Truly opening up yourself to your fellow man by recalling the passion that drove you to begin your journey transcends words when they fail us and calls us to continue learning day in and day out.
We may never be able to fully understand our spouse, but the passion that drove us together will keep us together. Therefore, mastering the language of marriage is not too different from the mastery of any other language. Words and grammar are the rigid structure holding our relationship upright, pointed in the right direction, but love and patience are the warm luxuries — and secret ingredients — that keep us coming back for more.