I want you to succeed in your every day communication with others, especially your partner/ spouse/ best friend. What does that mean? It means slipping on your decoder ring and being invested enough to use it.
Often the lens we are looking at our selves and others through distorts the messages being sent.
Wife statement - "You are always at work, you don't care about your family".
Husband's derived meaning - "I work my butt off but it's not good enough." or "Nothing I do is ever good enough."
Often the true meaning - I want to be with you more, and I want you to be with our children more.
Even better meaning - You are so amazing that I don't want our kids, and me to miss out on time with you.
So, which meaning will help the husband to complete the wifes request...because if you look hard enough she was attempting to send a request (be with us more) but the way it was stated likely kept it from being heard. So what would it be like to get at the real message when you are requesting something of your parent, and giving them an opportunity to fulfill your request?
The main reason people tend to not speak in de-coded ways is that it makes them feel exposed and vulnerable. Simply put if a person asks directly for something there is a fear of being rejected. What we forget is that often asking indirectly (as above) we still feel the rejection we feared, but we also aren't giving our partner an opportunity to fulfill our request because that request is hidden behind a different message. What would it sound like if instead the wife's statement was something like: "I really enjoy being with you, and the kids do too, would it be possible to have a family dinner together tonight?" See how that kind of message feels better to attend to. Likely even if the answer has to be no, it will be a kinder no from the other partner, because the request makes them feel wanted and liked. Who doesn't want to feel wanted and liked?
That is the power of decoding your messages to others, but how do you decode what you are hearing?
1st, you check your lens - if you see your partner through a lens that says "they are always unhappy" or "I am not good enough for her" you are going to hear other people's statements differently. Instead, if this is your partner or best friend, I invite you to put on a lens of love. How do you do that? Simple, before listening and as you are hearing their words repeat in your mind - "they love me, and want the best for us", and you will be surprised how different their message begins to sound.
2nd, listen for the request. Often when people are complaining or ranting they are actually trying to communicate a need. Consider what the need might be, and then put it out there. In the above example what would happen if when the wife said "You are aways at work, you don't care about your family" the husband came over to her, put an arm around her shoulder and said "I would like to be here more, can we all be together tonight?" or "Its hard to be at work when I feel like I am missing out here at home". See, the whole thing simply feels softer and more loving. And Surprise, when people are softer and more loving to each other they often get a softer and more loving response, and then it's like a circle...easier and easier to be softer and loving to each other.
So, today I invite you to slip on your decoder ring and be a soft and loving version of yourself. Listen for opportunities to fulfill your partner's requests, and listen for their needs. You might be surprised that what you begin to hear the most is that they need and want you.