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Understanding your body language

You think you’re being so cool. He says, “I’m thinking about taking Saturday off to go fishing with the guys,” and you think, “I’m gonna kill him. Saturday was the day he promised to clear out the garage together.” But you don’t want to have an argument over it or fall into the category of nagging wife. The garage has waited this long, so it can probably wait another week. Exerting enormous self-control, you say, “Fine.”

Couple having disagreement

Body language

Fine? So not. Your body language says it all. Your mouth may say “fine,” but if your lips are pressed tightly together, your arms are crossed, and your foot is tapping, “fine” is nowhere to be found.

Your man is no fool. He may be fooled once or twice, by your “fine” (which really means “over my dead body”), but soon he’ll figure it out — and then guess what happens? He can’t trust what you say anymore. He doesn’t know when “fine” really means “fine,” and when it means something else that will surely come back to haunt him. Trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship. Without trust, the relationship will fail.

The underlying truth

Pay attention to what your body says! Your body language must be consistent with the underlying truth of your message. If you say “fine,” mean it — with open face, unguarded body and nodding head.

If you don’t mean it, say so! “We had set aside Saturday to clean out the garage together,” said in a neutral tone (not nasty or complaining), opens the door to a valuable conversation. Marriage is full of such conversations: “How do I get what I want and help you get what you want, too?” Your guy may not like hearing it, but he knows you’re being straight with him. That is the core of any genuine relationship.

Say what you mean and mean what you say, with your body, mind (mouth) and heart. It is the only way to build and maintain trust.

More on body language

Is your partner listening? Body language will tell you.

Relationship therapist Dr. Sheri Meyers shares telltale body language signs that your partner is not listening to you.

More communication tips:

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