How Do I Handle The Message?

Relationship Design, Simplicity

Photo courtesy SarahR89

Recently I had the privileged of guest posting on Zen Habits.
The Cliff’s notes version of the article – if you increase the honesty level between spouses in marriage, you’ll increase the level of passion and closeness.
When you increase the honesty however, there will be some growing pains for both for you and your spouse. One reader named Laura caught onto this idea with some good questions in her comment.
So good in fact, that in an attempt to answer I am going to run a series of posts.
Here’s her comment:

This post is full of good info, thank you for posting it. I have a further question though. You say:
“Communication break downs occur because you don’t like what the other person is saying, or not saying, not because you can’t communicate. Communicating in marriage is all about being able to handle the message.
When two people are able to handle the message, honesty increases. And when honesty in a relationship increases, you grow more as an individual and closer together. Through this growth you are capable of reaching new levels of passion and intimacy.”
Could we have a post on how to “handle the message”? I am all about the communication in theory, but often I can’t seem to help but overreact when I hear something that I perceive as threatening (or is threatening), either on a basic level or even a superficial one. And my hubby can’t help but shut down sometimes when he perceives that I am overreacting (even when I am not). I just also realized that we reverse these positions quite frequently – he overreacts, I shut down.
And as a corollary to that, what if the message is truly threatening? How to do it? How to respond? How to make sure that the communication keeps going?

As I attempt to answer these questions, keep this in mind as the foundation… marriage is about becoming a better human. The natural processes involved in marriage are designed to grow you up.
Be looking for the Taking Your Shape series. More on the way!