F A I T H F U L
Who doesn’t want to be understood? Who doesn’t want to have that feeling of, “this person really gets me”… We all do. In fact, that is very often how we define a soul mate – someone who really “gets me”. Now, let’s be honest. Some people are just easier to understand than others. Other people are very hard to fathom. I don’t think I’m the easiest person to understand, but that is probably because I battle to be in touch with my own feelings and thoughts, never mind someone else still trying to decipher what I battle to.
But, we’re not here to talk about ourselves – we’re here to understand our spouses. The easiest way to understand our spouse is by knowing them and we do that by observing them – by being a lifelong learner of who they are. Finding out what makes them tick by seeing their reactions to situations in life, asking them questions, finding out who they really are. But, rember – all of this takes time. Yes, in the first flush of romance, “getting” who your spouse comes instinctually. But, as time marches on, and things change and people change, so does your understanding of your spouse. Understanding your spouse is a lifelong project. If you don’t take the time to get to know your spouse and be their friend, then very likely, someone else will. Sometimes, it can be as simple as sitting down and touching base with them – asking them how they feel about their lives at the moment and why. At other times, it can be living life together – going grocery shopping together, taking the dogs for a walk, watching your child play chess… And even at other times, it may need to be more in-depth. Some advice from Focus on the Family:
Each week, set aside an hour or so to “check in” with your spouse — not for the business of running your home, but to find out what the other person is thinking and feeling. For these conversations to be productive, keep the following in mind:
- Timing is important. You can’t share your heart with each other when you’re rushed or exhausted.
- Distractions should be minimized. The TV should be off, phones out of reach, computers on sleep mode and kids engaged elsewhere or put to bed.
- Listening to the other person is critical. Rebuttals, watch checking and eye rolling all deliver intimacy-withering messages: “What you’re saying is stupid” or “You shouldn’t feel that way.”
- Open-ended questions keep the communication flowing smoothly. “What do you think about ___?” “What most concerns you about ____?” “Can you help me understand ___?”
- Husbands, don’t assume you need to help your wife “fix” something that’s bothering her, unless she specifically asks you to. Wives, it’s OK to let your husband know whether you’re looking for a solution or merely a listening ear and a comforting hug.
- Don’t be discouraged by misfires. Your best effort to draw the other person out could be interrupted by a crying child or might unintentionally open a wound or provoke an argument. Nothing works perfectly every time, so regroup and try again later.
The benefits of a regular checking-in routine can’t be overestimated. For one thing, you are far less likely to be caught off guard by something that has been brewing in your spouse’s mind and heart. Better yet, you have the opportunity to help your spouse sort through concerns that may be difficult to put into words. Walking together through this process creates both trust and closeness. When a couple makes this a regular habit, their bond is virtually unbreakable — and their marriage immensely satisfying. Focus on the Family
Some questions you can ask your spouse to better understand them:
- What was the best thing that happened to you this week?
- What was the worst thing?
- What is really worrying you right now?
- Is there any way I can help you with that?
- What are you feeling right now?
- What happened in your day?
- What did you have for lunch? For some reason, I am always asking this one… 🙂
- What’s up with your business?
Examine your relationship with your spouse and see how you can work at understanding him or her a little bit better. It takes a conscious effort, but will have a big payoff. familyshare.com
I must just add here that understanding your spouse does NOT necessarily mean you AGREE with them.
My hubby hates gardening because his parents used to use that as a form of punishment when he was growing up. I get that, I honestly do. However, I don’t agree with it – our garden is not his parent’s garden. It is ours and we need to take pride in the home that we live in. But, I do understand his point of view – I have a similar issue with washing dishes. Hate. It. But, I do it because this is our house now and I take pride in our home. I don’t NOT do it because my parents used it as a punishment. I know these are two very silly examples but understanding does not equate to agreement. Understanding means you get it. From there, you can move forward.
I want my husband to get me. But, more importantly, I want him to feel loved and understood.
The Baby Mama