Jimmy Evans - Communication
One of the biggest issues in marriage in any relationship, is communication. And when you have communication there's just a sense of good will, of intimacy, of passion. When you lose your ability to communicate, it really is game, set, and match, because we share our needs through communicating, we resolve conflict through communicating, we communicate about the kids, we communicate about money, about so many things, but when communication breaks down, you can't do that. You can't process your emotions, you can't process your love and intimacy, and all bad things happen when communication breaks down, and this is very, very, common.
When my wife and I got married over 40 years ago, we were already having communication problems before we got married. We dated for three years, high school and college, and then we got married, and we had been having really escalating fights, even before we got married. But we got married, kind of with the hope that somehow marriage would improve it. It didn't, it got worse. And we fought and fought, and the bad thing about our fights were that they were becoming more intense. The yelling was more intense, just the anger, and we both would look at each other in those fights, and say this, "What's wrong with you? What's wrong, why don't you get it? What's wrong with you"?
And I felt, when we had those fights, is when are you gonna get it? When are you gonna get the memo? You're married to Mr. Wonderful, what's your problem? And that's not the way she saw it. I really thought, there's something wrong with her, she just doesn't get it. Well, after 44 years of marriage, I'm telling you, we communicate, we rarely have an argument, and I'm being honest, I'm not saying we don't get on each other's nerves some, but we just have a good marriage, and we don't fight, we can communicate about anything that happens in our relationship, and I wanna tell you the secret, and it's not complicated, because if I can do it, anybody can do it.
We hear through our deepest needs. One of the most important things about communication is tone. If the tone of your communication isn't right, it's not gonna be successful. Let me tell you what I'm talking about. So we're talking about strengths, Alan Kelsey and I wrote Strengths Based Marriage to help people understand their differences, 'cause it transforms your relationship, 'cause you're different, you're different by God's design. But one of the most basic differences that we have is just our deepest needs. Men and women are completely different, our four major needs are completely different and a woman's deepest needs are security, number one, open and honest communication, number two, soft non-sexual affection, number three, and leadership, number four. She doesn't wanna be dominated, but she wants her husband to be the loving initiator of the wellbeing of their relationship, the kids, the home, everything like that.
A man's deepest needs are respect is number one, number two is sex, number three is being friends with his wife, and number four is domestic support. Not the wife doing all the work, but he's an equal in the work, but she is domestically centered, and she turns the house into a home. So those are our four major needs. Let me go to our mega needs, because with men and women we both have mega needs, and we hear through these mega needs. So if you're going to successfully communicate with your husband or you wife, you have got to encrypt the tone of what you're saying to match their need, or you're not gonna be successful.
Let me give you an example of this. So women, their number one need is security. What do I mean by security? Women want to know that their needs are going to be met by a sacrificial sensitive man that is tuned in to them. And that makes them feel secure. What makes a woman feel insecure is to feel that her husband is insensitive and detached, and that he's not really paying attention, or see romance means you're on my heart. The significance of romance to a woman is you're thinking about me when you don't have to. I'm on your heart, that's why you're sending me flowers, that's why you're writing me cards, that's why you're being so sweet, and doing things that I'm not asking you to do. And that really, really meets the need that she has to feel secure.
Well my wife and I got married, and we weren't great communicators, and I played golf all the time, and she didn't like it. I was not attentive to her, I was not attentive to our young daughter, and when I would come home from playing golf I was tired and I wanted her to meet my needs energetically, but I was not meeting her needs, and so she would come up to me and object, and she'd say, "Jimmy, could you please come home and not play golf so much"? 'Cause I mean, I was a golf addict, and it was wrong, but I didn't see it that way at that time, and I would say this to her, "Hey, get off my back, I work hard, and this is how I relax, so stop talking to me about it, okay"?
Well, so remember her number one need is security, that's her mega need, that's how she hears. I am flying in the face, in that comment, the tone of my voice is saying to her, "you don't matter to me as much as golf and my friends, you're not important enough to me to come off the golf course and be home, period". So what's your problem? Well the problem is, is I just wounded her in the most sensitive area of her life, where she needs a sacrificial sensitive husband. The Bible tells us, Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, he sacrificed his life for her, that's what women want.
See here's how you communicate to a woman, and because I know, I did it wrong, now I do it right. It makes all the difference, tone. "I don't want you to go play golf". "Well you're more important to me than golf, what is it that you need for me to do"? My tone is kind, my words are, "you're more important to me than golf". She needs to know your wife needs to know that she's number one. She needs to know that you will sacrifice, remember, love your wives as Christ loved the church, he sacrificed. She needs to know that you'll sacrifice other things for her, and that she comes first, and that she's on your heart, and shouldn't have to nag or beg to get your attention, and then she's not resentful of work or friends or anything like that. "Baby, you come first, I'll change jobs, I'll change friends, but I won't change you, you come first".
She's at peace, and now that you're encrypting your communication with her mega need, she's all good, she's all good, I mean it's gonna be a good day, I can just tell you that right now.
Well let me talk about men for just a minute. See, our mega need is respect, we're not like women, we don't have that same need for security. We need respect, and so respect means you believe in me, and you think I'm a good man, and that's so important. Now listen to me, a big strong man, is as sensitive in his ego, as a woman is physically, and a big strong man can be very wounded by a look or a word that he interprets as disrespect. So Karen and I got married, and I was not a good communicator, and I did not treat her well, and I put golf and other things before her, and she would come at me. And when she would come at me, I interpreted what she was saying as disrespectful. And she would say, "What's wrong with you? You're not coming home, you're not taking care of us". Well the way I interpreted that was, you don't respect me.
Now listen, a man gravitates to the place he gets the most respect. And because it's so wounding to us, to be disrespected, we stay away from places we feel like we might be disrespected. Guess why I played golf? I was a good golfer, and my friends knew I was a good golfer. And among my friends I was respected, until I came home. And when I came home and Karen would talk to me that way, here's what I said to her, "The way you say something to me is as important to me as what you're saying, and I don't like the way you talk to me". And she would say, "then come home". And I would say, "No, I'm gonna play golf". And we would get those fights, those knock-down drag-out fights, back then. It's not that way anymore.
I still play golf, golf is of the Lord, but if Karen says to me, "Hey Jimmy, I need you to stay home today, and be with me, I need you to say no to this, to be with me". There's not even a conversation. "Absolutely, what do you need? I'm on your side, Karen. Everything else is secondary. I don't have a friend, I don't have an interest, I don't have anything at work that comes before you. And listen to my hurt, your needs will be met, even if mine aren't". Anything you're saying to me, you're not a burden to me to love. I love loving you, I love taking care of you. And you'll never have to say it twice, you're on my heart, you're the love of my life".
Well, she doesn't have it, we don't fight. We can communicate about anything. Then she comes to me, and she's talking to me, and she says "honey, can I say something to you", and I say "sure", and she has a complaint, she has something to say, and she says it in a manner, that I know that she believes in me, and she respects me. I can hear, I can hear. When you're not speaking your spouse's language, you're jamming them, you're jamming them. It's like trying to hear a frequency, but there's a jamming noise that's coming into that frequency. So, just very difficult, it doesn't mean I can't hear you, it just means it's so hard when you're talking like that, when your tone is like that.
Let me say something about your children. You'll never influence your boys without respecting them, 'cause they're just little men. You'll never influence your little girls without making them feel secure, 'cause they're just little women. So when you go to a little girl, your daughter, and you make her feel as though, Dad, that you're not there for her, and that she doesn't matter, you're wounding her spirit. When you go to your son's, Mom, and you're speaking to your sons disrespectfully, even though they may deserve it, I mean they may not be doing the right thing, obviously, you wound their spirit, and they close their hearts.
See the issue about speaking each other's language is we open our hearts, "You're my friend, you're not my enemy, I trust you, so I'm gonna let you in to the holy of holies, because you make me feel secure, and you respect me". That's the difference. That's one of the biggest differences in our marriage today, versus over 40 years ago when we were on the brink of divorce. We hear through our deepest needs and we must encrypt the tone of what we're saying accordingly.
Allan Kelsey: If you're just tuning in, welcome to Strengths Based Marriage. We have a guest couple with us today. Let's have a look at how their strengths influence their marriage. Well, I'm so glad to be able to introduce to you Sergio and Georgina. Thank you so much you guys, for joining us on the program today. Why don't, for the benefit of our audience, you guys just talk a minute about who you are and what you're doing these days.
Sergio: Well, my wife Georgina and I, we pastor in San Diego Cornerstone Church.
Georgina: Yes we do.
Sergio: And we have six girls ranging from 30, to 20, to 19, to 10 ears old, and three of them are married, and we're very excited, because we have grandkids.
Georgina: That's right, and we have two in university, Point Loma University, and we have one in elementary school.
Allan Kelsey: You do not look old enough to be having grandkids.
Allan Kelsey: That is for sure, wow.
Sergio: Well hold on, our grandkids are not a Point Loma Nazarene University.
Allan Kelsey: Okay.
Georgina: No, it's our two daughters
Sergio: We have two daughters.
Allan Kelsey: I see.
Georgina: We have two grandsons, and a granddaughter.
Allan Kelsey: That's awesome. Well we have a little relationship. We know each other somewhat, and so I'm really grateful for our ongoing communication. So Georgina, I wanted to get started with you, because when I look at the list of strengths that you have, I'm just gonna read 'em off real fast. So you lead off with positivity, and you're just so enthusiastic about life, look at life kind of with the glass half full, which is wonderful, you have empathy, which means you feel the way other people feel intuitively, and I don't understand that, 'cause I don't have it, you have includer, which means that you just love to widen the circle, you just love to get other people involved, maximizer, you're a wonderful polisher of things that are already in motion, and as your final strength there is belief, just that you have some very strong, founded, bedrock kind of ideas about life, and they help you navigate all of life. But when I look at all of those together, 60% of your strengths have this relationship building component. And so the big lens that you approach life with, just this idea that you just wanna get to know people, bring 'em around, and include them in what's going on with your family. Can you talk a little bit about why that's enjoyable for you?
Georgina: You know, I think because I'm built that way, and God made me that way, that just fills my heart, my spirit, when I have people around us. When I have family around us, when we get to spend time together. That kind of just fills my cup to overflow. You know, when I get to have that relationship with people, and I'm serving them, I'm very hospitable, so I love opening my home and just serving the coffee, making them happy, and making them feel like they're welcome in my family. And that's always a big thing for me.
Allan Kelsey: So when there's a good group of people around, they're over at the house, and they're all visiting and hanging out, and you're maybe cooking for them, serving them, creating, and then they leave. You're still, you're feeling good? How are you feeling in this moment?
Sergio: I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted.
Allan Kelsey: Why?
Sergio: Well, when you talked about her being the includer, for years my wife has been telling me, "honey, we need to buy another house". And we've been arguing for a while about, you know, the house we have is fine, she's like, "honey, we can't even entertain people here". And so we just bought this house for this exact purpose, for what you just heard. She goes, "I wanna bring people over", so now we have, every week we have people coming over.
Allan Kelsey: So this relationship building aspect of your life is so broad, it's now had influence on your home purchase decision.
Sergio: Yeah, and on our pocketbook.
Allan Kelsey: It's just fascinating to me how we feel like this is just a normal decision, this is what feels right to me, we have no idea that behind all of those decision making, is your strength, and they're kind of leaning into your decision making, and it's causing you to make one selection over another. Your selection on the home you purchased was influenced by her strengths, to make room for her to be able to enjoy that particular way she's built.
Allan Kelsey: Isn't that crazy?
Sergio: Yeah, so influencer should also be one of her strengths.
Allan Kelsey: Sergio, yours, when I think about yours, okay, so you lead with futuristic, you love tomorrow, all the solution to every problem that exists lives out there, strategic, you love to begin with the end in mind, you have self-assurance, which means you're very confident about what you believe and think, you have ideation, which is great to serve your futuristic, which means you've got a lot of ideas about how tomorrow can be better, and then achiever, you just really love to get stuff done, you're out there kinda moving things along. And when I think about how all of your strengths have built together, there's 60% of them have this sort of strategic thinking kind of perspective. It's sort of where you live and feel most comfortable. And so do you see that in him at all?
Georgina: Oh, for sure, I totally do see that, especially...
Allan Kelsey: What does it look like?
Georgina: Oh, when we have meetings, for instance, at our staff meetings, and he loves to be in a room with the staff, and he will just start popping off ideas, and he loves that, and he likes to see things getting done. Like once he pops 'em off to the vision, and then he's like, okay, now we need to get these things done. And once we see them get done, then he's like, "Oh, that's good, okay let's move on to another thing". It's like, oh that's good, okay, let's move on.
Allan Kelsey: So, what's happening with you, when you're in the meeting, Sergio? You've got this group of people, and you're there to tackle a problem, and you're, so go from there.
Sergio: Well, I just think that everything rises and falls on vision. A preferred future is what I feel like I'm supposed to always set up for people. I'm always supposed to be ahead, so that when I come back, there's a path for people to take. And I just, I feel like the best contribution I can make to my family, is to think about the future.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah.
Sergio: So when we moved to San Diego, the first thing we did, we opened up a company and we started our church, and I did it for the sole purpose to purchase homes for my kids, so that as I go into ministry, at least I know that every one of my children have a house. So we did that, and it was wonderful, and now they're enjoying that. So to me I just feel like, I just have this notion that the clock has to work for me, not against me. So whatever I do, if I think further enough ahead, then at least I feel I can relax knowing where this is going, as opposed to living with so much uncertainty, and having people follow me, that I feel like I didn't do my job correctly.
Allan Kelsey: That's just fascinating to me, because you have so many of these strengths that are so interested in tomorrow. Futuristic, ideation, strategic, all of your planning, all of your thinking, like your brain time, is spent out in a space that doesn't exist yet.
Allan Kelsey: And you have very little interest or time to spend on how we got here, or the past, or what is already gone, and what's already happened.
Sergio: That's true, I have no interest in the past, so if something happens, and I get hurt or something, I get over things so fast, I'm like, "yeah, no problem, let's just move on". Because see, to me the answer's always, so for instance, I may have done something that I shouldn't have done, but the answer is, in the future just don't do it again, because changed behavior is the answer to bad behavior. So I can say I'm sorry, and we can talk about what's happened, but I'm more interested on what's gonna happen next, because I believe that has to be one of the key elements of a leader. And if I'm gonna lead correctly, then I have to be in front, pioneering, thinking about what's next, and I love it. I love the challenge of it, I love the uncertainty of it, but...
Allan Kelsey: Wait, wait, wait, you love the uncertainty of it.
Allan Kelsey: Does that freak you out, Georgina?
Georgina: Sometimes yes.
Sergio: Oh no, it does, absolutely does...
Georgina: But we've been married...
Allan Kelsey: 'cause he's running toward tomorrow and it doesn't exist yet...
Sergio: Absolutely freaks her out...
Georgina: But we've been married for 20 years, I'm kind of like, I've learned to just grab onto his coattail.
Allan Kelsey: So you've learned, okay.
Georgina: And just to like go with the flow.
Allan Kelsey: And was it hard at first?
Georgina: Oh, of course, for the first several, five, ten years.
Allan Kelsey: So how did you deal with that?
Georgina: But you know, but then it's like, it's just, just running with him. And just learning to flow with him I always would say to myself, "just be liquid, like water, just be liquid, just continue just to flow and be liquid. Because when you think of water, and rivers, so I would always tell myself, "just be liquid, just be liquid".
Allan Kelsey: Well, so what might have, if you'd have known your strengths, each of yours back then when you were dealing with this, just learning about each other, how would that have changed the way you dealt with him, or how you felt about this need to be liquid?
Georgina: Well, I think understanding his strengths more, and accepting them, because I think when you have an acceptance of what the other person's strengths are, and you really receive it, and say okay, well this is why he's this way, because God made him this way.
Allan Kelsey: He's not trying to make me mad.
Georgina: He's not trying to make me mad, he didn't grow up into this, or somebody made him like this, but that actually God made him like this. And so just to have a better understanding and a better understanding of myself, because he would try to make me like him, and I'm like, I don't get it, I don't get it, I don't know how to be, I mean, I can catch some glimpses of who you are and try to be like you, but...
Sergio: Does that make me a bad person though?
Allan Kelsey: No
Georgina: No, no, no, no, no.
Sergio: Because I feel like I'm a really bad person, right now.
Allan Kelsey: No, you shouldn't.
Sergio: Okay, I just...
Allan Kelsey: It just puts it into understanding.
Sergio: Yeah, it does, it does.
Allan Kelsey: This is a classis marriage challenge. You know, you guys grow up, you figure out how to be nice to each other the hard way.
Allan Kelsey: But how different could it have been if you'd have just known that this is literally the way God set you up for success, and if you're playing that way, then you look at it as, wait, this is a blessing to me. Not painful for me.
Georgina: Right, that's what it. Definitely.
Allan Kelsey: Listen you guys have been such a great couple, thanks so much for joining us on today's program, it really meant a lot to us.
Georgina: Thank you.
Jimmy Evans: I love to see stories like that. That's why we do what we do, and an example of the impact these powerful resources can have on your marriage.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah, for example, maybe your number one strength is empathy, and your spouse's strength is to be restorative. Being aware of that is so important, because it will help you to understand how each of you think. Because while someone who is empathetic will feel what others are feeling, a restorative spouse will see a problem and try to fix it. They both want there to be resolution and understanding, peace and growth, but their perspectives are completely opposite, and if misunderstood by each other, can be cause for some really heated discussion.
Allan Kelsey: But trust me, no matter what situation you're in, your marriage can thrive in every area, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And we wanna help you experience that today, so request your Strengths Based Marriage resources with your gift, and discover the principles you need, to see yourself, your spouse, and your marriage in a new amazing way.