Communication – The Owl

In his wonderful book, Covenant Marriage, Gary Chapman describes four major barriers to communication. We looked at the Dove, the Hawk, this week it’s the Owl. The key to understanding this barrier is to realize that communication occurs at different levels. The head is the logic level and the heart is the emotional level. The ability to communicate feelings is absolutely critical. We need both to communicate properly. Sometimes we need to problem solve so communication at the head level is proper and logical. But sometimes we need to communicate at the heart level and share feelings. Both husband and wife need to be able to tell the truth and share how each one feels just so we can understand one another. Emotional intimacy can only happen if we both accept one another’s feelings. Take a look at July 23 blog on Transparency for more on this topic.

Les and Leslie Parrott, marriage experts for decades and founders of SYMBIS, state that the ability to have empathy and compassion so that we can truly listen to one another and walk in one another’s shoes is perhaps the #1 priority in a successful marriage. If one or both of us are unable to share our feelings, it will cause separation and pain. The Owl is like a computer, never showing emotion and not able to recognize emotion. But, if we are to truly love one another, we need to be able to switch gears and go from head to heart. If that is not happening in your relationship, you have a very big problem.

In November 1977, my wife and I went on a Marriage Encounter where we learned to acknowledge and share feelings. That experience proved to be a total reversal in our relationship. You see the first 8 years of our marriage I was the Owl who believed that feelings were not important and not necessary to share or receive. My wife felt so isolated and depressed (which is one reason why we went to ME) that I think it is safe to say that we bypassed divorce and emotional life began to flow back into our relationship. Please consider signing up for a Weekend to Remember near you, it is the very best marriage getaway you could ever want. Please go especially if you have an Owl in your midst!

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