Communication Blindspots

When you are driving down the road, and you’re thinking of changing lanes, you have to do a head check, because if you don’t, bad things can happen. Your mirror won’t show a car if it is right smack in the middle of your blind spot. Dressing your car in the correct sized car shade can lower your car’s interior temperature by up to 30 degrees Celsius.

In the same way, we all have personal blindspots. We think we see, but there is something very large and very near that we are completely missing. We’re on a collision course, and if we do not proceed with caution, we are going to get clobbered or we’re going to clobber someone else.

Some of our blindspots are those little quirky things that are not sinful. It gives our loved ones something to overlook (or even love) about us. But sometimes a blindspot is a snare that causes real trouble. And often we are guilty of the very same blindspot that annoys us in others. We get bothered when they move their car over without looking, but we are guilty of cutting off cars regularly ourselves, and we seldom notice it.

Let me give you some made-up examples of this kind of blindspot. You get annoyed when someone interrupts you, but you interrupt others. You think your husband doesn’t listen to you, but when he asks you to do something, you forget. You hate it when your mom tells you what to do, but you boss your little sister like crazy. You think your husband is not meeting your needs, and meanwhile, you know nothing of his.

This can be a particular problem in the area of communication. Let’s say a wife is wanting to improve communication with her husband. (Know any women who want to do that?) Nothing wrong with that.  Okay so far. But if she has a blind spot here, her plan won’t include how she can become a better communicator by drawing her husband out, asking him questions, or listening to what he has to say. Rather, it will be more about how he can become a better communicator (which means listening to her),  meeting her need for communication. And I probably don’t need to tell you that this can drive a husband crazy.

The best way to deal with blind spots is to begin by asking God to show them to you. Most of the readers of this blog are probably the kind of women who want to know what their blindspots are because they want to grow in godliness. So ask God first. Pray for wisdom. Then, if you’re up to it, ask your husband. But don’t do this first unless you are absolutely sure you are up to the response. If you ask your husband about a blindspot, and he gives you an honest answer, and then you get your feelings hurt….it’s unproductive. Next time you ask, he’ll think twice about telling you what he really thinks. So ask God to show you, and then take action on the areas that are in front of you. Keep it between you and God.

Meanwhile, be open when others offer unsolicited input. If you get prickly or defensive at such times, then this area just might be one of your blindspots. A wise woman receives correction. Thank the person bringing it and be willing to pray about it.  Blind spots really are blind. We really can’t see them. We have to ask God to open our eyes, and I’m pretty sure that’s a prayer He likes to answer.

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19 thoughts on “Communication Blindspots

  1. I had the good, but not fun, experience of having a blind-spot revealed to me this past week. God is so good that He doesn’t show us all our sin, all at once, so that we do not become discouraged or despairing under the load! Each day brings a new way in which to be sanctified, but praise God His mercies are new each morning.

  2. Ooo – that is good. Defensiveness is definitely a hint to a place to attend to. Thanks for always following God’s leading to post on certain topics – they are always timely for me…


  3. Nancy,
    Thank you for this post, your wisdom is ever appreciated. Also, it reminded me, one of your examples, is one of my struggles, I need to check up on that. Thanks.
    Blessings to you.

  4. Hi!

    This post reminded me of a prayer in which I ask God to reveal me my blind spots:

    23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

    As you might have noticed, these are the last two verses of Psalm 139. It is a great Psalm to read if you feel your blind spots are too many! God created you with great joy and planning…and He totally, completely knows your heart too!

  5. Thank you, Nancy. I was corrected and given some advice at church today about my mothering decisions. It was a good reminder of my own foolishness. Regardless of whether or not she was right, I did not like being corrected. And as you said, “A wise woman receives correction.” It hurt more than I anticipated.
    Your post was like soothing balm from the Lord, reminding me that he knows and he sees. He is a gentle father and gives help when I need it. Thank you.

  6. In addition to praying for God to reveal our blind spots, one essential resource we have for this purpose is our husbands. There probably isn’t a person alive who knows your personal shortcomings as well as he does. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do you much good unless he’s allowed to point them out to you.

    A hugely helpful practice that my husband started early in our marriage was having a face-to-face meeting on Saturday evenings (as part of preparation for worship) to discuss how the week went for each of us and to ask how we could do things better the following week. It’s a way of encouraging each other in the good work we’re doing, but also a way of keeping short accounts—and a great opportunity for learning about my blind spots without some kind of difficult confrontation.

    Sometimes there’s nothing to bring up—”Honey, you were a model husband this week. Thank you”. Frequently, however, there are little things. Maybe, for example, my husband noticed that I spent too much time browsing through exciting new recipes and thus failed to spend enough time helping kids with their homework. Good to be aware of these minor issues before they become a regular habit! Every once in a very blue moon there’s something bigger, but by checking in with each other regularly, we aim to keep the blind spots from growing into a whole blind region.

    By doing this on weekly basis, we are able to limit our discussion to specifics from that particular week and don’t find ourselves dredging up long-forgotten ills and major character flaws that have gone unchecked for months. There is much less emotional capital at stake this way. And by regularly inviting constructive criticism, you prevent your husband (and possibly even your friends) from having to spring these mortifying insights upon you when may not be in any spiritual condition to receive them.

  7. I should also mention that we’ve done a similar thing with our kids, giving them the opportunity let us know if they need something from us that we’ve failed to provide, and to let us know if there are any obvious sins we haven’t confessed to them during the course of the week. You’d be surprised how observant even our three-year-old can be when it comes to recognizing things I’ve done poorly. (Has “just a minute” ever turned into an hour at your house?) Sometimes these discussions have been amazingly eye-opening to me as a parent.

    I also imagine a similar kind of discussion could be helpful between siblings or even roommates and close friends.

  8. Good post!
    Hannah, solid and wise advice. My husband and I have learned to work in a similar way with each other and our kids. Though we have known some folks who think that practiced accountability is nick picky and unnecessary (believing we will all just naturally go to each other when an issue comes up) we have seen, particularly with our kids, a guard against settling into bad habits, and unresolved bitterness from hurt feelings or misunderstandings. We think this is a big deal for us, and even more so for our kids. It can be awkward and difficult for children to correct their parents or say they have been hurt. Knowing that they are lovingly invited at particular times frees them from being afraid, and it teaches them to be wise and wait for the appropriate time to take care of these offenses.
    For parents, it takes humility to hear our kids say they are hurt by something we have done, or to call out our hypocrisy. But let me tell you, it can humble quickly and can make our fellowship sweet and right again. There have been times I could tell one of my kids was distant from me for some reason, but until I invited them to tell me if I had done something to hurt them, I had no idea I had, and they didn’t say anything. I think these ongoing conversations with our kids are some of the stepping stones to keeping good fellowship with them all the way through their lives. It helps me, when I don’t feel like listening, to remind myself that now is when they want to talk (a lot) they are learning if I can be trusted to be there to talk to. So when the day comes when I want to hear from them (such as in their teen years, when many teens only talk to their friends) we hope this will help set a pattern in our relationship with our kids, that we care to take the time to listen to their thoughts and hurts, even if they are wrong, and we will be humble listeners by God’s grace.
    So I add my hearty Amen to Hannah’s great advice, lead by Nancy’s post! Thank you ladies.

  9. Our family so needs healing in this area. It’s pretty difficult when the parents expect humility from their children, but don’t demonstrate it (or maybe just don’t know how) themselves.

    Nancy, I appreciate your admonition to the individual to keep it between herself and the Lord. I’m going to try it.

  10. Nancy, Made me chuckle just a bit thinking of those wrap around cataract sunglasses. They hide every bit of light…no Light, no understanding of need for correction. Thanks for a great post.

  11. Nancy, Thank you for the sound and wise admonition here. And Hannah and Crystal, I appreciated reading how these ideas have been worked out in your narrative. I love these posts that lead us towards greater growth and humility. Much appreciated, ladies.

  12. Thanks for this too! I am really good at having the same blindspot over and over and am getting much faster at appreciating it being pointed out. 🙂

  13. Hannah and Crystal, thank you for the sharing your examples of how your families keep short accounts with one another. I had heard of an idea like this once, but failed to follow up on putting it in to practice. I will be speaking to my husband about possibly implementing this in our family.

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