Disclaimer: By no means do I think I’m an expert on marriage.
Mike and I have been married for 5 awesome weeks and we were blessed to go through an incredible marriage prep experience through Parkview Church. It was our favorite part of being engaged! We learned so much and our relationships with God and with each other grew immensely. Because we had such a great experience I want to share some of the things we learned and how we’re putting them into practice in our lives.
During one of our meetings with our pastors we talked about responding to an emotion with an emotion, rather than a quick-fix.
Person A: My trip to the grocery store was so frustrating. The lines were long and the clerks were unfriendly.
Person B: Maybe you should go do a different grocery store.
In this case, Person A probably wasn’t looking for an answer to the problem. He/she was looking for empathy. In fact, if I was Person A, Person B’s response would probably annoy me. A better response from Person B might have been: I’m sorry, that is frustrating.
Putting it into practice:
So last week Mike came home from running and was complaining about his shins hurting. They have been hurting him quite often so I suggested icing them or taking a break from running. Mike continued to address his frustrations with his legs and I continued to offer up ideas for solutions, thinking I was being helpful. After my 5th suggestion Mike stopped me and said “this is one of those times that I’m looking for an emotion.”
Oops! This quick reminder from Mike made me realize that he just wanted me to respond with, “oh man, that stinks,” rather than trying to solve his problem. For us, the roles are typically reversed and I’m the one looking for emotion from him so this was a good reminder to me that sometimes he’s looking for emotion too!