Thursday, August 22

The Marriage Key

     What is a key? A key is something that affords a means of access. Whether you are trying to gain knowledge, discover power, uncover truth, open a door, or safe-house something precious a key is well...the key. And I don't know about you, but I am always looking for keys; keys to my house or the car and keys to life, love, cooking, marriage, friendship, cleaning, etc. Life sure gets hectic when we lose those bad boys! We start running late, get frustrated, become impatient, miss appointments, forget to be kind, and so on, and so forth.

     When Jon and I first met, some dear friends and counselors gave us a piece of pre-marital advice. I believe it is one of the greatest keys to marriage and well, it's been on my mind a lot lately so I thought I'd share it so you could all add a key to your belt. (I'm going to stop saying 'key' now because it is getting a little redundant, but you get the point ;)
     The piece of advice was this; communication is important, but understanding what was communicated is even more important. They went on to explain the importance of active listening. "Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption and then restating what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of the speaker. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood..."* This is so genius, guys! Everyone wants to not only be heard, but understood.
     This advice was easy to remember when it was fresh on my "girlfriend mind" but as time has passed I've become guilty of not listening. I will sit and think about a quick comeback or what I'm going to say in response instead of pausing and reflecting, then repeating back what I thought I heard. This week I have really been trying to work on this because 1) this process helps to eliminate assumptions and also minimize misunderstandings and miscommunications and 2) I feel that Jon and I have been having a few more than normal of the afore mentioned misunderstandings and things lately. Nothing bad at all, but I still don't like it.
     For example, we had some miscommunications about who was going to be using the car because we both happened to need it at the same time one day (which rarely happens). Then Sunday afternoon plans went awry because one of us forgot to inform the other about what was going on. And now I can't even remember what else happened but anyway we had a communication gap that kept being recognized, but not resolved. Things were not being understood and feelings were getting hurt.
     The way of the world says that little misunderstandings and things don't matter, but to me they do. I don't want little things to add up to big things. I don't want anything to come in between us. Being proactive in our relationship is really what helps us the most; catching things before they become a big deal. So, I want to encourage anyone out there that is getting frustrated with misunderstandings to go ahead and sit down to work out whatever is getting in the way of your relationship and don't hesitate to add, 'So what I heard you say was...'. ;)
     Live. Laugh. Love.  

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