Husbandry Wisdom… June 24, 2007Posted by Steve Worthy in Appreciation, Communicating, Husbands are doing, Marriage, Romance Leadership.
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A Wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?
(Edward H. Richards)
Good question to ponder..
Speaking the same language June 14, 2007Posted by Gerry Baron in Communicating.
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I came across this article from Focus on the Family.
Speak Your Spouse’s Language
Are men and women really from different planets?
Men tend to use language to transmit informatoin, report facts, fix problems, clarify status, and establish control. Women are more likely to view language as a means to greater intimacy, cooperation, and stronger or richer relationships rather than competition. In other words, it’s debate vs. relate.
Try making it your goal not to change your spouse but to adapter to his or her style of communication. Make a date with each other once a week to try a communication exercise. For example, the wife talks for 10 minutes about feelings or issues she has; the husbands does nothing but listen. He may respond only with “I don’t understand; could you restate that?” or “What I hear you saying is …”
Then he talks for 10 minutes and she listens. She can ask only for clarification or affirmation that she is hearing him accurately.
At the end of the exercise, neither of you is allowed to try to “straigthen the other one out” or debate the issue.
This is not a hopeless situation. In fact, compared to many marital conflicts, it can quickly and remarkably improve.
As a guy, it takes a lot of work for me to listen to my wife.
It never fails…she wants to talk while I am in the middle of doing something – working on my computer, reading, or watching TV. My natural inclination is to split my time between listening to her and continuing what I’m doing. After all, since she interrupted me it’s my right to keep doing what I was doing.
If only it was that easy. It has taken me a long time to realize the significance of the way that I handle these situations. Whenever I timeshare my attention between my wife and whatever I’m doing, I discovered that I was communicating to her that what she was saying was unimportant to me. On the other hand, I let her know in no uncertain terms how valuable she is to me when I turn away from the computer, put down the book, or shut off the TV to intently listen to her. This simple decision breathes so much life into her.
The other lesson I’ve learned in communicating with my wife is that it is not my job to solve problems. It’s our nature as men to want to fix things. Yet most times that my wife wants to share what’s happening in her life, she only wants me to listen. What’s the logic in that, you ask? There is none and that’s ok. When she needs my help, she asks for it. So now I just listen.
The cool thing is that listening has become easier for me now that I no longer feel the pressure to solve any problems. All I do is take in what she’s saying without any ownership to do something about it.
Take your listening to a new level. Be willing to stop what you are doing, listen, and hold off your advice. You will be surprised with the results.
Hero Thought – Transparent June 11, 2007Posted by Gerry Baron in Hero Thought.
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I am reading “For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women” in preparation for our upcoming radio segment with one of the authors, Jeff Feldhahn. (Listen to the segment live on Tuesday June 19 at 9:00 PM @ www.blogtalkradio.com/byhusbandsforhusbands). One of the things that Jeff and his wife, Shaunti, discovered through their research of over 3,000 women is that there is something in a woman that desires to be reassured that their husband really loves them. It’s like a tape that plays in their heads that keeps repeating the question “Does he really love me?”.
My natural reaction to this need that my wife had was to be callous. I viewed it as her problem that she needed to be constantly reassured. Since it was her problem, she had to figure out how to get over it.
Then about 7 years ago, I was introduced to the concept of being a transparent person. The principle behind transparency is simply this – making a conscious decision to share something that I can easily keep to myself with someone that I trust. When I first learned the concept, I did not think it was practical or realistic. At that point in time, there were lots of undercurrents in my marriage and I could not imagine honestly telling my wife the things that were going through my head or that I was doing. The only outcome that I could forsee was more conflict.
Then I learned the key to unlocking transparency. The biggest barriers to overcome with transparency are the fear of shame, the fear of guilt, the fear of condemnation, and the fear of judgement. Questions like “What are they going to think of me when they hear this?” and “How will people treat me if they know this about me?” dominate our thinking. Once I learned that there was a way to receive forgiveness for my past, present, and future sins (many call them mistakes), and that upon receiving that forgiveness all those sins are no longer counted against me, I started on the road to freedom from those 4 fears.
The next step was to embrace my forgiven state. In other words, I had to stop beating myself up each time I blew it, and remember that I was already forgiven.
I had to learn to accept God’s unconditional love which was the the source of the opportunity for me to be forgiven. God’s love for me surpasses my natural understanding. No matter how hard I try, my love still has conditions to it. I am naturally more loving to my wife when she acts in an affirming and loving way than when she doesn’t. On the other hand, God’s love for me is consistent regardless of how unlovable I am behaving.
Accepting His unconditional love allows me to combat those voices of fear. Each time guilt or shame try to creep in, I remind myself that God does not consider me guilty and He is not ashamed of me. I actually picture Him bragging to angels about me like a proud papa. When fear of condemnation and fear of judgement come knocking, I remember that I have already been forgiven so there is now therefore no more condemnation for me.
Overcoming those fears opened the door to transparency. For example, I struggled for several years with pornography. I made a decision to put it aside and to no longer engage in it, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been “porn-free” for several years now. How am I able to stay clear of something that had such a visceral attraction for me? Through transparency with my wife.
Here is an example of how I am transparent with my wife. Several years ago I was on a business trip in Spain. Those who have traveled to Europe know that the standards for what can be shown on television are vastly different than they are here. Things that are considered soft porn in the US are regularly shown on TV there. One evening while killing time in my hotel room, I was scanning the channels. I came upon a channel that was showing porn. Instead of moving past the channel, I camped out for a while. Finally, the spell broke as I came to my senses and I called the hotel to ask them to turn off the adult channel.
Now I had a decision to make. I was thousands of miles from home and the hotel bill would only be marked “movie” so there was no way for my wife to know what I had done. Do I keep it a secret or do I call her and tell her?
I chose the latter. I called my wife and explained the situation. After quietly listening to me, the first words she spoke were “Thank You!”. She gratefully thanked me for not keeping my actions in the dark and told me how it made her feel secure to know that I would not do something like this without telling her.
This was my first lesson in the effect that transparency has on my wife’s feeling of security. The knowledge that I would not keep any dark secrets helped her to deal with that tape in her head. She is comforted by knowing that I love her because I am choosing not to keep anything hidden from her.
Transparency is a powerful principle to apply in our married lives. Try taking the steps I outlined above and move towards transparency. Let me know how it goes.
See the video – Hero Thought: Transparent
The Big Lie June 10, 2007Posted by Gerry Baron in About Us, Romance Leadership.
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This morning my wife and I were discussing the level of intimacy that we are experiencing right now. It’s remarkable to both of us because we are more intimate than we have ever been before. Neither one of us ever thought that it would be possible.
Nearly 20 years ago on the second day of our honeymoon, a confession was made. The response to that confession set our marriage on a course of destruction for the next 19 years because of the big lie – “Things will never be the same again”.
This single false statement framed our thoughts, feeligs, and actions. It opened the door to unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, wrath, revenge, contempt, and infidelity. As long as our circumstances were viewed through the filter of this lie, it was impossible for us to see the truth about the other person. One example of how this work is the interpretation of what happened at that fateful moment on my honeymoon.
When the confession was made, the immediate thoughts were:
- “How could they do this to me?”
- “How could I have been so deceived?”
- “Why didn’t they tell me before?”
- “What did I do to deserve this?
- “Why did you allow this to happen God?”
These are genuine questions that fueled genuine emotions of disappointment and anger. Because of the big lie, there was no possiblity of believing that there was a good reason for what happened. And that’s why it’s a big lie…
The reality of the situation is that the root of the incident that had to be confessed was fear and insecurity. The action taken was driven by those lies and was covered up by another lie – “they’re probably doing the same thing too”. Once the big lie was recognized and discarded, the perspective changed. Instead of the injured party viewing the incident as “something that was done to them”, they saw it as “the unfortunate results of the other person’s human frailty”. What a difference that made!
Grace, forgiveness, and compassion flowed with the elimination of the big lie. All the other negative emotions dissipated.
We all live with big lies in our lives. The problem is that we generally do not have the courage to root them out. We develop defense mechanisms that allow us to cope with them and ultimately become prisoners to these lies.
Free yourself! Have the guts to examine the big lies in your life and break free from their chains. Live a full life. Enjoy your spouse.