Years ago a friend mentioned that she and her husband were going through a spell of talking in sound bites. Busy life, hectic schedules, and frazled emotions left them with little opportunity to have longer conversations. We've been there.
Sound bite use became popular in the 1980's; Ronald Regan was one of the first politicians to use the technique well. The bite, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" summed up the 1987 Berlin Wall story, and started a media flurry where opportuinity to provide quotable lines dictates our political scene. Sound bites are propoganda.
Sound bites are often used to summarize stories and messags when the speaker and/or listener has little time for context. Our society has become conditioned to sending and receiving informtion through sound bites. Facebook and Twitter thrieve on sound bite communication. These forums propogate the assumption that we can get a full picture of someone's life and circumstance through one line posts multiple times a day or week. But can we? Can marriages work when spouses communicate only in sound bites?
Rich has now worked away from St. Louis for nine weeks. Many of those days and even weeks have resulted in sound bite communication. We wrestle the clock for more time to connect. Our system to keep daily reading going through skype didn't make it through the busy Christmas season. We catch ourselves having sound bite conversations where neither of us are investing the time to hear the heart of the other.
I wish this blog entry could offer an easy five step solution on how we've captured this fox lurking about ready to sneak in and steal away the joy of our relationship. But I can't. It is something we are struggling yet this week. The one communication skill we are striving to implement is to NOT have important conversations or share vital information with the other during moments of transition. My walking in with arms full of groceries is not the time for me to focus on hearing details of a needed car repair. It is where we are starting. I suspect communication within a marriage/family is a topic I'll return to often here on Catching Foxes.