The Dead Fish Story

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One of the biggest…um, discussions we ever had took place while we were arguing about…um, discussing something else. It was years before we discovered that the problem causing the problem was opposite behavior and communication styles.

Don’t forget to sign-up for the New and Renew Couples Conference coming the last weekend – Friday night from 7:00 to 9:30 and Saturday morning from 8:30 to noon!

The Couch (Steve’s Perspective)

So imagine this: Steve is sitting on the couch while Jill paces back and forth in our living room. Jill is upset. Very. Actually, we were both very upset at the time.

At one point, Jill makes a particularly strong point and follows it with a question.

Steve hears the question and begins to ponder a reply. He thinks and thinks some more when suddenly…

Jill loudly exclaims, “Would you say something! I’d get more of a response from a DEAD FISH!”

Steve was shocked!

The Couch (Jill’s Perspective)

Steve is sitting on the couch while Jill paces back and forth in our living room. Jill is upset. Very. Actually, we were both very upset at the time.

Jill makes a particularly strong point and follows it with a question.

Steve sits on the couch with a blank look on his face and says nothing. Nothing at all.

Jill is shocked and loudly exclaims, “Would you say something! I’d get more of a response from a DEAD FISH!”

A bigger fight ensues!

The Couch’s Perspective

What neither of us knew at the time was that we have opposite behavior and communication styles (like every other married couple we’ve EVER met!).

Jill is a quick thinker and verbal processor:

  • She is able to analyze situations and reach decisions quickly. Like in split seconds.
  • She analyzes these situations and reaches these decisions out loud. You always know what Jill is thinking because that is what she is saying.

Steve is a contemplative thinker and inward processor:

  • He analyzes situations slowly and carefully and reaches decisions ONLY if he feels he has COMPLETELY analyzed the situation slowly and carefully. Yes this takes as long as you’re imagining it takes…
  • He doesn’t say a word until everything he’s thinking inside (inwardly processed) is organized into the perfect sentence structure. Simply put, you never know what Steve is thinking or whether he is thinking at all.

What Really Happened

So while Steve was slowly and carefully and com…well, while all THAT was going on in his head, Jill was feeling ignored! And when she yelled at Steve for ignoring her, he felt misunderstood and confused!

Yikes!

The fact is, we were unaware of differences between us that nearly tore us apart. These differences, and many more, are the reasons many couples struggle like we did. That’s why it’s critically important to continue to learn about each other in ways that can help you grow together.

And it’s why we’re excited about all we’ll be covering in the upcoming conference. Behavior and personality styles is only ONE of the many parts of communication and intimacy we’ll be talking about at the New and Renew Couples Conference later this month. Click here to learn more or here to sign-up now. It’ll be held at Springhouse on Friday night and Saturday morning, April 25th and 26th (we’ll be done by noon!).

photo credit: emdot via photopin cc

  • Liz

    Hi There, This is totally my husband and me. We have only been married for 8 months. While we were dating I never minded the time it took for him to process, but now I feel ignored all the time. I’d love to hear more about making a marriage work as a couple who communicates so differently.

    • http://stevegrossmanonline.com/ Steve Grossman

      Thanks for the question and for reading our blog Liz. We’ll be exploring these and other differences in May and also throughout the year. I encourage you to talk about this together and also learn more about differences like this. We HIGHLY recommend Personality Plus and The Five Love Languages to every couple. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

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