Watch Your Language

eyeBecause of the work that I do, I get to research the subjects of marriage, love, sex and the Christian church. Almost two years ago I ran across a study done by Dr. John Gottman, who claims to be able to predict the success of a marriage with 80% accuracy based on one thing: subtle body language.

This was intriguing to me; could I learn what to look for and also be able to predict if a couple will stay together or not? This could be valuable knowledge. I read that one of the biggest cues is eye-rolling, apparently a response to your spouse in this fashion indicates contempt. Contempt. I quickly read on to learn about more factors, thinking smugly that I was glad I didn’t do this.

Until I did.

My guy made a comment about something I didn’t agree with, I let him know how I felt and realized that he was not going to change his stance, so I rolled my eyes as I walked away from him. Contempt? I didn’t think so. But it doesn’t really matter what I thought, what mattered was the lack of respect I was showing my husband in dismissing him and his opinion.

I started to notice every time I rolled my eyes, not just at my guy, but also at strangers and my family members and immediately was struck each time with the word: contempt. I forced myself to stop and think about what I was feeling towards the person and often came up with emotions like frustration, confusion, apathy and anger but not contempt. And yet that is exactly what I was conveying.

Does your body language line up with the way you are feeling? I had to stop this behavior, and replace it with sharing my true feelings for the person if we were in relationship, and just letting go of emotions around people I didn’t know. We have a choice, to use our subtle cues to encourage or to tear down, and it may take some practice, but I think it’s worth it to be intentional with our choices.

3 thoughts on “Watch Your Language

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  1. This post is a true eye opener. Wow! Contempt…who’d have thunk it? It made me think about myself and how I’m always crossing my arms. What does that mean? I’m sure there is some negative connotation in that too. Honestly, I do catch myself rolling my eyes. Thanks for your message and the wake-up call.

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