Saying what you mean and meaning what you say

how-to-make-cup-of-coffeeAs I am a presenter, trainer, couple mentor and marriage weekend facilitator you could be forgiven for imagining that I’d be quite good at saying what I mean and meaning what I say.  I mean, surely with all this training and experience I must be the communication Queen right?


I never cease to be amazed at how I successfully manage to be obscure, unclear, or downright misleading in my own communication with my nearest and dearest.

Let’s take the fairly simple desire to stop on the way back from travelling on the M5 and have a cup of coffee.  The stakes aren’t particularly high, its a fairly straightforward request, there is no emotional baggage or unhelpful history to make the communication process fraught.  What could possibly go wrong?

I start the conversation with a question: “Would you like to stop for a coffee?”

My nearest and dearest thinks for a nano second and then simply replies “No”.  As far as he is concerned he has answered a simple question.


The question was not simple, it was loaded.  Loaded with my own expectations, needs and now intense frustration.  How could he be so insensitive?  How could he not realise that I would love a drink?  Does he really love me at all?

For the rest of the journey I nurse my disappointment, I feed it with other examples of felt neglect.  I even manage a “passive aggressive response”: “Just so long as you’re okay”.  A response he puts down to hormones!  By the time we reach home I am fuming and successfully orchestrate an argument over something quite un related.

So why can’t I just say what I mean? and if I can’t manage to ask to stop for a coffee, how on earth am I going to manage the more knotty issues which are all part of this adventure called marriage?

Perhaps there is more to saying what you mean than I had realised.  I suggest in reality  it requires letting go of  a cherished relationship fantasy.

Love means never having to be explicit because real love always knows what you really want and need.

The truth I suggest is much more practical:

Love means  always having to be honest because real love doesn’t always know what you really want and need.

Armed with my new realisation, and on my way back from a recent journey, I once again found myself saying “would you like to stop for a coffee” my husband said “No”, then thought for a nano second and then said “but would you like to”?

So am I any closer to my goal of saying what I mean and meaning what I say?  Perhaps not.  But I have discovered a deeper truth about communication.

Love means always trying to be honest, sharing your failings, because real love will always exercise Grace which is what we all really want and need.

Me especially.









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