I Don’t Understand My Spouse :: This Foreign Language Story Will Tell You Why

strengthsfinder don't understand spouse foreign language

There are words coming from his lips, but it is like he is speaking a completely foreign language.

He says — “Let’s plan a regular date night”

I hear — “Let’s press in on your work hours even more.”

He says — “Let’s dream about our future.”

I hear — “Let’s talk without commitment to action”

He says — “We need to have options.”

I hear — “This is going to be unstable.”

It is like we are new exchange students, with fresh excitement and little understanding. At first, we do a good job at using our intuition and our sign language. After a while, it gets tiring, and we forget to assume the best of each other.

StrengthsFinder LifeChange Checklist Ad Image

A Foreign Language Story

Nomimono arimasuka?

What does that mean to you?

Probably nothing.

What if I say it louder and s l o w e r?


No? Still nothing? But your hears hurt.

What if I get right up in your face and say it over and over? What if I plead with you?

Nomimono nomimono nomimono nomimono??

That didn’t help? And now you’re really annoyed.

Are you starting to write me off? Are you starting to draw conclusions about me and my behavior? Crazy? Ignorant? Annoying? Even dumb?

I am speaking some unknown, foreign language and you cannot understand me. Your bewilderment turns to annoyance which turns to frustration which maybe even turns to ambivalence.

Where you once sought to understand, you now write me off.

It seems to you that all I offer is babble and distraction.

strengthsfinder foreign language

What if, in those foreign words, what I am trying to offer you is something not frustrating or crazy, but something refreshing, life-giving and unique?

What if, if you had only sought to understand my words from the start, we would not have come to the point of ambivalence and contempt?

Nomimono arimasuka?

Would you like a drink?

All along I was trying to give you a drink—a refreshment to enjoy. And you couldn’t take it. You couldn’t reach out for it and receive it because you couldn’t understand.

I was trying to give of myself, of my uniqueness, of the best of me, and all you saw was annoyance and buffoonery.

{Thanks to my Japanese-speaking friends for playing along!}

I Don’t Understand my Spouse

Just like in the Foreign Language Story, part of the reason we do not understand our spouses {or our partners at work for that matter!} is because we each speak our own language.

We speak only from our own perspective, our own set of strengths, our own filters of the world. Often times, those filters—that foreign language—is unknown, and the foreign language guide book is unexplored.

To add challenge to challenge, we are often fairly unaware of how to translate our own language to that of another.

Peter Drucker says:

“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong.”

So, we go around with our nose in our own language book and our spouse does not even know to look for the translation.

SF + SS life fullest

Translate the Foreign Language

When you learn to know, understand, and appreciate your Strengths {and your spouse’s!}, it is like you are finally translating that foreign langauge.

The words he/she speaks begin to take on new—enlightened!—meaning.

Discovering your Top 5 Strengths through the StrengthsFinder {also newly called CliftonStrengths} is like opening up the guide book to a foreign language. It translates your inner workings to the people around you {and often to yourself as well}!

It gives you words to communicate your deepest needs, and ears to hear what your spouse is truly saying.

It helps you reframe the offering, so you see it for what it really is—a refreshing beverage—not a baffling display of lunacy.

So now, when I choose to translate his words through his foreign langauge guide book, I can hear what he is really offering when he speaks.

He says :: “Let’s plan a regular date night”

I can now hear :: “We will feel better together when we connect meaningfully” {From his Relator Strength}

He says :: “Let’s dream about our future.”

I can now hear :: “I care about where we are headed and want to make it good” {From his Futuristic and Belief Strengths}

He says :: “We need to have options.”

I can now hear :: “We’ll do better when we can choose the best for us” {From his Context, Self-Assurance, and Futuristic Strengths}

We assume the best of each other again because we hear and see in a new way. We move from fresh, foreign exchange students to seasoned and fluent friends.

All because we translate the foreign language of our Strengths and begin to hear what is really being offered.



Links & Resources from today

Discover your Top 5 Strengths with StrengthsFinder + Strengths Startup
Get your own 9 Steps to Life-change FREE Checklist
ITV 5 | Our Strengths Are a Language
What is StrengthsFinder? Translating a Foreign Language
Get Out of a Marriage Slump & Truly Be Known
StrengthsFinder is Life Changing | Get Clear on your Needs {Step 7 of 9}
CliftonStrengths from GALLUP


The Strengths-perspective can impact your marriage, your parenting, and your work!

If you’re into it or you’re just not so sure about it all, reach out, and let’s connect about it. You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, all at @isogostrong, by this handy contact form, or in our Energy Up Frustration Down facebook group.

Enjoy your day, and {be strong}!

Share this article


Do you want a monthly free resource + blog snapshot from Isogo?

It’s free! No spam, no risk, just good stuff. 

Most Recent

Related Posts

Do you want a monthly free resource + blog snapshot from Isogo?