Most people think writers are great all-around communicators by default. But that’s not necessarily the case. Not all communication is created equal.
I consider myself a pretty good communicator. Written communication always came naturally to me from a young age. My early relationships were comprised of an insane amount of note writing. My deepest sentiments of love were almost exclusively shared via the written word. To this day, I can write a pretty incredible birthday card.
I’m an introvert and I’m in my own head much of the time. 99.9% of my processing is done internally. I rarely speak without thinking things through. That’s why the written word is such a safe place for me. It allows me to process and edit before sharing the fullness of my heart.
But I’m learning that spoken words matter. They are just as important and many times even more powerful than the written word.
My wife is a verbal processor. When she feels something, it comes out unfiltered and voluminously. There are times when she shares her heart for 20 minutes straight and when she stops to get my feedback, I have nothing to say. It’s just so much information to process that I’m rendered dumb.
But since interpersonal communication isn’t done via email and text message, our conversations many times come to a screeching halt. This is something my wife struggled with for a long time but since we’ve identified my tendencies, it’s helped to some extent.
The problem is that in a marriage I can’t ask her to stop the conversation right there and let me think about it and get back to her with an email the next day. That’s not how intimacy works. I can’t fully share the depths of my heart in a card on birthdays and holidays. I need to speak my heart in the moment. As messy, unfiltered and unedited as it may be.
In the Bible, the word rhema is the Greek for “utterance” or “spoken word”. 1 Peter 1:25 says:
“The word of the Lord endures forever”
It’s literally saying “the spoken utterance of the Lord endures forever,” which seems counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t written words endure much longer than a spoken word?
The more I think about it, I believe there is something supernatural about the spoken word. God used the spoken word to speak creation into existence. When God revealed His name (I AM) for the first time to Moses, He spoke it. There is a unique power in the spoken word.
When my wife hears me share the depths of my heart with all the tones and inflections in my voice, it does something deeper than when she reads it on paper. That’s not to say my written words aren’t powerful. I did get her to fall in love with me just by my blog posts, some funny comments and emails back and forth!
The first time we spoke over the phone I knew I wanted to marry her. Her written words took on a new depth and texture. I felt like I already knew her by her written words but in her voice was something deeper, more intimate.
But we tend to go back to what is most comfortable. I feel safe with written words. I can go back and edit and erase. Spoken words feel so final. They cannot be taken back. They cannot be burned and destroyed. They endure forever. And that’s what makes them powerful.