Over the course of writing a blog for a year, I’ve been listening to my friends share their relationship struggles. This week I’m bringing back posts that could help a few friends that are dealing with these specific areas.
The following are 3 posts that will hopefully help my 3 friends who are challenged by: a growing to-to list with limited spousal support, deciding how honest to be, and negotiating expectations for the holidays.
1. Love on Purpose: Acts of Service – “My to-do list is much longer than his.” When I hear friends complain about how much they do compared to their spouse, it is usually an indicator of the need for Acts of Service. They are giving away what they want back. Sometimes the to-do list of tasks accomplished means “I DO so much to love you, what do you DO for me?” Looking at a never-ending to-do list of things you want me to do can feel overwhelming. What I told my friend: pick the top 3 things that you hate doing that your spouse doesn’t mind doing. This keeps the request manageable. For me, I invest in the tasks that are most meaningful. The acts of service that mean the most to my husband are: making sure he always has milk for his coffee, cleaning the dishes, and folding/putting away laundry. When I do these tasks for him, he knows that I’m DOing “I love you.”
2. His & Hers: Her #3 Need is Honesty & Openness – “Don’t lie to me.” If the average wife’s top 3 need is honesty /openness, then she may be asking to hear something she doesn’t really want to know. The male perspective that counter-argues this need is “why bring up something that can’t be solved” or “she doesn’t really need to know that.” Why make trouble? The problem occurs when she eventually does find out and trust is damaged. If women think a man is hiding something, it makes us become snoopers until we get to the bottom of it. For me, I would rather deal with the initial sting of honesty than to have to hunt it down and drive myself nuts trying to find the truth. Preserve a woman’s sanity and just be honest.
3. Drawing the Line: Boundaries with Resistors – “What about me?” Implementing boundaries can be a sore spot for the person who feels the consequences of them. Not everyone shares the same expectations. With the recent (and upcoming) celebrations of parenthood, it is interesting to see who claims rights to set the days’ agenda. My personal belief is whoever is “actively parenting” gets priority. This means that my brother-in-law should get a special day where he determines the agenda. This may mean he wants to be left alone at the house so he can tinker in peace or go fishing alone. Sometimes, people expect a big group celebration for Father’s day where everyone comes together. I am a “quality time” person. Celebrating my dad would mean that he and I would go do something special. I like the one-on-one interaction where I can focus on that relationship. Since I don’t have kids, priority goes to my husband’s father who lives in town. He likes family BBQs when everyone gets together. He also likes doing “quality activities” with his son, male bonding. I encourage my husband to schedule a golf date with his Dad so they can hang out together. I don’t expect to be invited along because my presence changes the father-son dynamics. That is a boundary I will not resist against.
One year of blogging has enabled me to explore the struggles my friends are having and to provide resources from the books that I love reading. We can’t always get together to have long conversations. Hopefully, this short version helps make the small pieces of wisdom digestible.
The quality of our relationships is what matters the most at the end of our life. I am passionate helping people develop their communication skills so they can have happy, healthy relationships. Most people have limited training on how to manage relationships effectively. In the process of preparing a weekly blog, I get the opportunity to fine-tune in my own life the wisdom I share with all of you. The writing process holds me accountable of how well I am walking the path I set for myself. Thank you for your friendship over the year as I fumble along My Journey to a Fulfilled Life.
Request: Ideas for a future blog series? What areas are you (or someone you know) having frustration in? What self-development book do you want to read but have no time for…I can read and give you the highlights in a blog!