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If ten people see a car accident, all ten of them will have a different eye-witness report.
If five people interpret a Bible verse, all five of them will have a different opinion of its meaning.
A husband and a wife will have very different ways to recall the same event.
Why are there so many different perspectives?
Most of the time people interpret life based on their investment. By investment, I mean their convictions—their worldview. A person who has been bitten by a dog will make an investment to avoid dogs. Or maybe they will focus on finding a cure for angry dogs. A parent whose child experiences a serious injury because of a malfunctioning car seat will all of a sudden become interested in how car seats need improving. Or perhaps in an extreme case, they will refuse to let their child ride in a car.
One way to find out what someone really believes is to witness them in a heated argument. The more agitated a person becomes, the more likely they will bypass their filter and speak their raw truth. Their words may or may not be accurate, but how the person feels will come across much clearer.
If (or maybe I should say when) you’re struggling to communicate with another person, the first step should be to gain understanding. Why do they not want a dog? Why do they insist on paying extra for premium safety features? When you understand a person’s investment, you’re well on your way to negotiating a solution to your heated argument.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.