It’s not unusual, especially when you are busy, to not notice something even when it’s right in front of you. That’s what happened to me recently.

Did you ever walk into a friend’s house and fail to notice a new picture on the wall or perhaps a new piece of furniture? How about when a friend shaves off his mustache but you don’t see the change. How many men have failed to notice a spouse’s haircut?


It’s not unusual, especially when you are busy, to not notice something even when it’s right in front of you. That’s what happened to me recently. I’ve been working with my teenage daughter lately, trying to make sure she understands things about life. I usually do this through informal chats that happen at the kitchen counter or in the living room while relaxing before bedtime.


It seems that when I speak, I sometimes use derogatory tones or scrunch up my face causing wrinkles in my forehead, because she asked me the other day if I was unhappy with her. Now, no father likes to hear that from his daughter. Of course there are times I need to correct her, but I certainly don’t want to come across that I’m unhappy with her. I guess I didn’t notice my body language was apparently sending a powerfully negative message.


I recognize that different factors can play into that feeling on her part. However, if my voice deepens or sounds more cross and my eyes squint and my mouth turns downward when I’m trying to prove a point or share a thought with her, then over time that’s the feeling that will be generated each time she sees me. Frankly, that’s not my goal.


I want her to have happy thoughts when she sees me coming, even if it’s to correct an issue or talk about something uncomfortable. Therefore, it’s important that I notice how I deliver my messages. What’s my mood right before I engage in conversation? Am I rushed for time? Am I stressed about something totally unrelated? Am I physically tired and don’t realize it shows on my face?


There are a lot of things to consider before you communicate with your spouse or other family members. Timing and body language is so critical to the delivery of a message. It’s the little things you don’t notice that will be noticeable to the message receiver. It’s usually not what you say, but how you say it.


You can communicate a lot without speaking a word. Raising your eyebrows can show surprise or doubt. A frown can mean unhappiness. A smile can indicate happiness, but combined with your eyes can also show sarcasm. It’s easy to show anger by just giving a long-hard stare. Bulging eyes can reveal shock.


What it boils down to is what you see is what you get, not what you hear or what’s not said yet. Your mouth is speaking words, but your body is talking simultaneously, sometimes distracting the receiver from what you are saying. Don’t just start speaking louder; adjust your non-verbal speech to match your words.


Try looking in the mirror and practicing how you are saying something before you say it. Consider your words and facial expressions and most importantly think about what’s in your heart and make sure your motivation is in the right place. What you’re thinking oozes out of your pores like an overdose of glue sandwiched between two pieces of paper. Your body language is what will stick in someone’s mind.


Learn to be a good communicator, and if you want to win at home, you’ll take notice.


Dan Seaborn is a non-denominational Christian evangelist and a published author of such books as "The Necessary Nine: How to Stay Happily Married for Life!" He is the founder of Winning at Home Inc., a ministry that focuses its attention on the relationships between a husband and wife and between parents and their children.