They say people retain 30% of what they hear, 60% of what they see, and 90% of what they do. So, every weekend I use a fill-in-the-blank outline with the key word left out to require people to do something to remember. Filling in blanks is easy, and yet helps connect with the listener. But that can work backwards in marriage.
If I say something half-way to my wife, she is left to fill in the blank. She might fill in the wrong answer and we’re in an argument already. And neither of us understand what the other was really saying because we filled in the wrong word. The other day, for example, I asked my wife about setting a breakfast date with another ministry couple. She said, “I’m not open to any day.” I filled in the blank and thought, how can we do this if she’s not willing to commit a time? But, she meant to say, “Just any day is not open, its got to work with my schedule”. Because she left blanks open, I filled them in incorrectly.
This is a common communication problem in marriages. We say just enough but allow our spouse to fill in blanks that we left open. And that causes strife. Choose your words carefully and remember this rule: If you leave blanks, people will fill them in. Better communication.