Progress Report: This is the 11th night of “Nick’s 7 Day Challenge.” From 97 unfinished documents, I am down to 70 so the “trash” has graciously received 16 below par attempts at putting thoughts together. I am trusting that some nuggets remain among what is left. Cheerleaders keep cheering. We shall reach the bottom of the list soon enough. Today’s entry seems different than most. It has to do with building your relalationship with your spouse, family member, or dearest friend. I hope you benefit from these thoughts as I have over the years.
How often do we get our feelings hurt or get angry because the other person didn’t say the “right thing.” Their reaction was far from what we had expected or hoped for. How dare they react that way or say that to me? Well, guess what! They might not have picked up their copy of the script. They are reacting or responding based on their past experiences, their perspective of the situation, mixed with their physical and emotional feelings at the time. They need a little help, a little mercy, a little grace, and a copy of the script.
Date nights are great for prepping for the next scene. It’s a time to calmly and pleasantly bring up some things that might be bothering you that could come up and cause an unpleasant reaction. It’s a time to make your requests known. You can bring up one or two things that have been bothering you, communicate how you feel, and listen to how he feels about it.You know he would be glad to work on it, if he knew it bothered you. You may have to offer suggestions to help him make the adjustment. Then you ask what he would like you to work on. Or you could ask, “If I could give you a gift of changing something I’m doing or not doing, what would that be.” To give you an example, Larry would say, “More foot rubs!” and I would say, “More hand-holding!”
Another way to help your spouse or others close to you is to suggest how you’d like the person to respond. After all they really have no clue how you heard what they said. Sometimes it sounds completely different to their ear than you intended it to and so they respond differently than you needed or expected. Communication brings clarity. The last thing you want is for your loved one to have unmet needs! Talk about it, and let your requests be known. There is no need to be defensive. You had no idea how they were perceiving what you were saying. You have no idea what the other person needs unless they tell you. They probably won’t tell you unless you ask, and perhaps not even then because they would not want to appear weak or needy. Asking the Lord to reveal to you how they are feeling and what they need will also prove to be valuable.
You will be amazed at the progress you can make toward understanding one another. You can make each others lives happier and more productive with some open mindedness, communication, and kindness. Over hundreds of date nights, you’re both going to get pretty good at reading the script and reaping the rewards of a great relationship.