Now if you know me, you know that I’ve ALWAYS been outspoken and that I tell you exactly how it is if you ask me my opinion on something. So imagine my surprise when I lost my voice and opinion once I decided to seriously date my boyfriend. As I reflect now, I blame it on knowing the power of my tongue and the importance of being “slow to speak”. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing, so I would ponder on how to say what I wanted to say and hide the honesty of how I truly felt about some things. Who wants to be a nag?
Fast forward to my life as a millennial wife today. There are still moments where I feel like my husband would rather I go back to being that woman despite him claiming to want me to be vocal. I say that because now when I’m vocal I tend to raise my voice so that I KNOW I’m being heard, which only frustrates him more but makes me feel better.
In the beginning, I was pretty much silent in the relationship. I did not like arguing because honestly I felt like I would not change the way he felt and that I was always right and we would never come to a mutual understanding. My husband is an only child and he actually likes to debate. I on the other hand do not like to argue and I have this unique ability to see both sides of any situation, so I can definitely understand the opposing side but still have my own opinion. As a Psychology major, I learned different communication styles and realized that I am a venter, which means before I say the wrong thing I would much rather write down my feelings, assess the situation and gather my thoughts, then talk about my feelings. My husband is a conqueror, meaning he’d much rather talk about things right then and there and find a solution. Total opposites!
Also, he gets so passionate when he is debating that he takes over the conversation and I lose my thoughts. His body language and tone of voice was enough to make me NOT express myself. Who wants to carry on a conversation where you feel like the other person is only talking to convince you why their point of view should be your point of view too? Forget saying “let’s just agree to disagree” and move on from the topic, No, this man will stay on the topic until you give in and just agree. That would be the only way to get him to stop talking.
Something about the way he communicated caused me to feel a loss of my equal voice in the relationship.
When things would arise I would just suffer in silence and agree, because again who wants a nagger?! I hate nagging and would never want to be viewed as that, so I just said and did whatever I needed to do to not fall into one of those debates he loved so much. I started to become unrecognizable to myself. Who was this person? I would share with my mom what was going on and she’d tell me everything that I would say to anybody else (except me lol). So one day I got some sense and I told my boyfriend/fiance/husband (I can’t remember what he was at the time) exactly what he was doing and how he made me feel. One thing about him, you had to come with facts and examples, so I gave him facts and examples of when, where, and how.
He acknowledged that he MAY do that and that he wanted me to “speak my mind” no matter what. He even went as far to say that’s one of the things he loved about me. He shared that he wants a strong woman, which really made me feel A LOT better. It allowed me to gain the confidence I needed to respect myself and my own opinion no matter the delivery as long as I expressed myself rather than avoid it and not speak up for myself.
I learned that both people in a relationship should have a voice. If one of the people feel like they feel unheard or no longer have an equal voice, it could complicate the relationship as well as your wellbeing. The longer your voice is silenced, an internal conflict with yourself will arise and you will begin to lose yourself. You will start to be upset with the people around you because they have no idea that you’re suffering in silence. They will assume you’re just quiet and that is your personality. It isn’t their responsibility to read your mind or assume something other than what’s being shared and shown. They will slowly but surely lose you with no warning or control. So it ends up being unfair to everyone.
Remain true to yourself if nothing else, God gave you a voice so use it. What makes the other person so special that they get to express themselves and you don’t? You have feelings too and you matter just as much. So SPEAK UP, I can’t hear you!