This weekend we took the boys to Six Flags for the first time. Man, it was so fun! It was a fast trip though. We left on Friday, after Bo got off work. We got up Saturday and hit the park as soon as it opened, then drove home that night.
I’m sorry to admit, the drive to Dallas was no fun. Three hours of serious faces, little communication, and short, to-the-point answers.
It was all on me.
For a few days, I’d been a little frustrated with the lack of communication between Bo and I. We have both been in a bit of a funk with things outside of our home, and it had taken a small toll on us.
I was expecting him to happily throw all his stress aside and cater to me and my desires without ever having to open my mouth and tell him that’s what I wanted…you know…I wanted him to read my mind. And to my surprise, he didn’t.
You would think after being together for eighteen years, I would know this by now. [sigh]
So back to the car ride. I was taking out my frustration on him through our lack of fun for the entire trip to Dallas. He knew something was up, but when he asked, I answered with an unconvincing, “I’m fine.”
Yea, you know the one.
Fast forward to Saturday. I slept off my emotions, prayed and decided I would NOT ruin our day with a bad attitude over my selfish feelings, and we had a blast at Six Flags!
Once we got on the road headed home, I confessed to Bo. I told him what was bothering me on Friday and asked him to forgive me for the way I acted.
I told him I set unrealistic expectations on him and I knew there was no way he could meet my desires if I hadn’t expressed them to him. I apologized for my bad attitude and told him I loved him.
Of course he forgave me and we had a great ride home with A LOT of talking and laughter.
Hear me on this: Communication is the lifeblood of marriage.
This has taken me YEARS to understand and live out. It’s one thing to know it, it’s another to have to choose to communicate with your spouse when everything in you wants to be pouty and selfish.
I get it. It can suck.
But sometimes, for great communication, your pride must be swallowed.
If I want Bo to be able to come to me with his frustrations in a gracious manner, I’ve got to go to him with my frustrations in a gracious manner. That is how we build trust.
Your spouse cannot trust you with his hurt feelings if you lash out at him or use his fault against him. That brings separation.
I’ve learned a great skill in sharing frustration…using “I” statements rather than “you” statements. Let me explain.
In this instance, I could have said to Bo, “You weren’t asking me about the things I’m dealing with. You were only focused on you. Why did you do that?”
Instead, I said, “It made me feel ignored when you didn’t ask me about my situation I’m dealing with. I know you didn’t intentionally ignore me. It would make me feel important if you asked me about these things specifically.”
Do you see how each question/statement would have a different response? Using “you” statements puts blame on your spouse. Using “I” statements helps your spouse to understand your perspective.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.” Ephesians 4:29
On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate your communication skills? Think about the last time you and your spouse were in an argument. Would you rate yourself the same then?
We all have room for improvement. If you’re having a difficult time getting your perspective across to your spouse without putting blame on him/her, consider using the “I” versus “you” technique from above. Practice this when things are going well, and it will come more naturally when you’re tempted to blame!
Growing with you,