Marriage: Talking & Listening With Respect


These days, I am working hard to increase my earning potential and do my part to ensure my family’s financial prosperity. Shaping my family’s future is a tall order and I’m doing my best to manage our own home-life by creating an atmosphere of stability. I am looking to be disciplined in my decisions in life and try my best to continually grow the moralistic and ethical fiber in my bones, exercising my ability to broaden my understanding of others situations and trying to grow my perspective outside of my own life experiences so that I can serve as a sturdy example to my daughter in how to treat your fellow human beings. Most importantly, I am trying to build up a foundation of love in our household. If you took everything I said at face value then I probably sound like a pretty upstanding guy. But I want this blog to be personal, to be very much like my diary where I can be honest and transparent with you the reader, in hopes that you will examine your own life with that level of honesty and truthfulness. So while a lot of the above are things that I aspire to do, that is not always how things play out in real life.
There are a handful of times where I let my impatience get the better of me as a husband and I speak disrespectfully to my wife. I love her with so much ferocity and sincerity but when you are raising a young 14 month old child who can sometimes be moments away from a full blown tantrum, it is easy to fall into a headspace of tension and allow yourself to feel on edge. This can sometimes lead to tense conversation with my wife where I don’t give her the time or freedom to speak to me and am short winded in my attention or responsiveness. Other times I am overly defensive or uptight and if she questions me about something like cleaning up after myself, taking care of my daughter, playing too many video games, or whatever it may be that most wives may decide to bring up as a topic of discussion, I may say something rude or hurtful as a kneejerk reaction. These kind of reactions can blindside my wife and cut off our ability to communicate in a loving way with each other. I hate it when I allow myself to speak out in this way and always feel very remorseful in the aftermath. You probably know the feeling if you have been in a long term relationship. The air becomes stale, silence overtakes the room, and you are left wishing you could put the conversation in reverse and swallow back those words that you used as an aggressive attack on your spouse.
Lucky for me I have a patient wife who has become rather accomplished at the art of forgiveness. I am not a perfect husband and I am not a perfect Dad. I make mistakes on a near daily basis and myself am well accomplished in the art of swallowing my pride and coming to her with an apology in hand in hopes to reset the mood of the day.
Isn’t it strange that as humans we reserve so much patience and respect for the people we are forced to interact with on a daily basis via work, school, etc and yet when we get home, sometimes we leave very little in the tank to treat the ones we love dearest with the same level of patience, attention, and respect?
There is no perfect model for how to treat one another and make sure that you love on your spouse in a way that will always keep them happy. Relationships are intense work from the start. Movies sell us this idea of an easy relationship where love is the only currency that you need to buy your way into a long term marriage of success, joy, passion, and respect that is ever enduring. I don’t think that relationship is real. The earlier years of a relationship or marriage may be easier for some but as you delve deeper into your time with one another it takes concerted effort to show one another that the passion is still deeply rooted in your heart, to ensure that you show how much you respect one another and are “in love.” Add kids to the equation and you have to really step outside of yourself even more to not only be there as a patient and dedicated parent, but to continue supporting your spouse and give them the confidence that you are fully available as a partner in all aspects of life.
For those of you who are struggling in your own relationship or marriage I want you to know that you are not alone in your growing pains. We all struggle in our relationships because that is the nature of the beast. Relationships are never going to be consistently the same from start to finish. They ebb and flow like a river that is ever-changing and always pushing forward. Keeping that in mind, I can’t over-emphasize just how important it is that you speak with your spouse. I think at times it can be easy to fall into habits of small talk or surface level engagement but even if it is only an hour a day, we have to dig deeper when it comes to conversation with our loved ones. When our communication with each other breaks down, then everything else in a relationship will break down with it. Talking to one another and really listening is so important to every relationship in your life whether it be with your spouse, your kids, your parents, or your friends.
It seems like such a simple fix but have you been listening to your spouse when they have an issue that they are trying to address? I know that in my defensiveness and introverted mannerisms, I do in fact disrespect my wife and hide myself from her in an emotional way at times. Recognizing that and storing that information away in my heart and at the forefront of my mind will help me to choose my words more carefully and to remind myself when I am speaking to her, that I need to do so in a loving and kind way. If I can take the time to respect co-workers that I disagree with for a myriad of reasons, then I can also take the time to speak with love, compassion, patience, and kindness to the woman who has sacrificed everything to take care of me and our little family.
I can be better to her and not just that, I WANT TO BE! If you are facing some of these same issues as a parent or spouse then I think a great strategy is to branch out and look to do something similar to what I am trying to do within this blog. Write out your thoughts. Read through them. Edit them to clarify what you are trying to state. Contemplate on these words and let them be an internal roadmap for your heart. Allow it to guide you in making a strategic effort to change your bad habits and mannerisms. Remember what you are trying to accomplish as a husband and as a father. What example are you trying to set for your children in how you speak to your spouse? Talk to them with love and allow your history as a couple soften your heart to their needs. Listen to them with an open mind, a compassionate heart so that they can be reminded how much you really do care about them. This person is your best friend and accomplice in life! Start living in a way that shows them you are fully aware of that, appreciate that fact, and want to continue and strengthen the foundation of your relationship. Remind them in your actions and efforts that they are a best friend in life, and will always be your partner in conquering the challenges of day to day living. Love your spouse and take the time to hold their hand as we all get a single life to live! I am lucky enough to have found the one person in this world who understands me and wants to experience the world by my side. That is a rare gift that many struggle to obtain. I can’t take it for granted and am going to do everything in my power to appreciate that gift and hold it dear throughout this one life that I get on the Earth. I hope that you find a way to do so in your own life, too.

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Also if you want to keep reading check out my post, "Right To Fly" where I reflect on one of my favorite John Mayer songs "Wheel" and discuss how we all have the right to fly but don't always exercise our right to take flight.
 

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