Recently my husband and I received training on the Kendall Life Languages Profile (KLLP) Communication Styles. I found it very eye opening to the way our Creator so uniquely and specifically created us to reflect him to all we come in contact with even in the way we communicate. We learned from KLLP that there are 7 communication styles that you can have. Having an understanding of someone’s communication style can help you to avoid a whole lot of conflict and keep your connection and love on towards the opposite person. The facilitators blessed us beyond measure by telling Tom and I that God knew what he was doing when he put us together because our top communication styles encompasses all seven between the two of us giving us the ability to cover each other weaknesses which makes us a very powerful couple. Wow! Talk about taking your marriage to a whole new level! And God can do this for your marriage as well as you begin to understand how each of you communicates.
Understanding this took my thoughts to the scripture in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 that talks about we are all part of one body but we all have a part to play in that body. Our communication styles reflect this as well. We all communicate but play a specific part in the way we communicate being a representation of our Heavenly Father. One part of our communication style is that we all have a filter that we run everything through. Here are the seven filters: Do you care? Are we communicating/connecting/relating? Do you have a plan? Are you managing your life? Are you doing your share? Am I really interested in this? What’s your motive?
Each Life Language has an internal filter screening incoming and outgoing communication. This internal filter is like wearing colored glasses. If your filter is “Do you really care?” You will tend to look and listen to determine if others genuinely care about you, others and the things you care about. Or you could choose to turn the filter question in to a filter statement of celebration that sends the message to others, “I care about you”. It’s how you communicate. If your filter is “Are We Relating?” Your first concern is being connected to others. It is very important to you — socially, professionally, and personally. You intuitively know how to relate to others, have excellent people skills and find people enjoyable. You focus on positive characteristics in others. Most people enjoy being around you. You can also turn your filter question into a more positive filter statement of celebration saying, “You are important to me, whether we relate or not.” Remember, the filters of others are important for you to learn, use, and appreciate so you can stay in connection and send a message you have value to me.
Looking back on our marriage I can see how many disagreements were more about how we were filtering than the actual problem itself. My number one filter is “Do you care?” So if I know you care, I will have no problem admitting where I was wrong but if I sense you don’t care you better believe my tendency will be to defend myself and not to trust. And my second is “Are we relating or connecting?” Which is the two examples I gave. Those who know me well can see how true that is in my life. My husband’s first communication filter is “Do you have a plan?” (For those who know him well, I know you see this). So when difficulty arises he wants to get it done and fixed while I just want to know if you care! Can you see the train wreck that can happen when we don’t know or appreciate each other’s communication filter? Neither is wrong, just different because God created us in his image to represent that aspect of him. If we all just wanted to know if you cared, we would never get anything accomplished or solved but if we were always concerned about the plan we may overlook our ability to care. God is so wonderful to cover all the bases of who he is in all of us so we can understand and appreciate all sides of him through others causing us to be more understanding and grateful.
The filter of our life languages is just the tip of the iceberg on this training we went through. It has proven to be helpful with more than just my husband. He is just an easy example to use because our spouses are whom we encounter the most. But I have been able to use this with my kids as well. Realizing what my kid’s filters are, I was able to diffuse a meltdown with my five year old as I began to speak to his filter after his brother upset him. I was amazed and it felt really good to communicate love so effectively through this understanding. I can even look back on tough situations with friends and leadership situations at our church where my lack of understanding someone else’s filter got in the way and caused a breakdown in communication sending a message that I didn’t value them which is not my heart at all. I just want to thank God for leading us to this training and opening my eyes up to greater capacity to loving well those he has put in my path. It’s freeing and fun all at the same time.
Transformation Center Director