Lunch Convo

I suppose you could say we are getting a jump on our kids being in school all day. Josh and I met for lunch today! On a regular old Tuesday. And it was so fun. I got my hair done and then rode over to his office to wait on him. While I was in the parking lot, I listened to a podcast (Nothing is Wasted by Davey Blackburn). His counselor was on talking about marriage. I took notes and had some great talking points for our lunch conversation. 

I was sharing with Josh how a text he sent earlier that morning could have been a little softer, a little kinder. 

He simply said, “I was in a meeting and just needed to answer your question.”

“I get that. I know you are a simple person with texts. I know you don’t coddle people or have much patience with big emotions or touchy people, but you married me and I need you to know that you could have simply added, ‘I know you are capable of (what we were talking about), but I only need you to do this at this point.’ Just letting me know that you know I have a brain in my head for more than switching laundry and picking up your drycleaning would be helpful.”  He smiled and said, “True. I receive that.”

He rebutted that he did tell me all the things I accused him of not telling me last week when he asked me to do this certain thing. 

I normally would have said, “No, you didn’t say that.”

He would have insisted that “Yes, I did say that.”

Then, I would have said, “You didn’t say that. You think you did, but all you said was…..”

And then he would have said, “I really did say that. I don’t think you heard that part.”

Then I would have pouted and not wanted to talk to him during lunch. I know, I am real mature. 

This bantering could go on forever. And we would sound like our children arguing in the backseat of the car.

Thankfully I was prepared for this because of the podcast. So, I said, “I don’t remember you saying anything like that. I could have not heard you, but I don’t recall that part at all.”

He was able to, instead of defending himself immediately, admit that, “You know, I have said it so much at work that maybe I thought I was clear with you, but maybe I wasn’t.”

And we moved on instead of getting stuck in “YOU said that…..No I didn’t say that.”

And I went on to talk to him about the podcast. In particular, we discussed communication. She encourages couples to schedule  “Marriage Staff Meeting.” This meeting can be once or even twice a week. It’s your scheduled time to talk about the hard stuff you may be dealing with in your marriage. She mentioned adultery specifically…saying that many times one person has lots of questions while the other person wants to talk about nothing pertaining to this topic. Scheduling a time of discussion will give one person a chance to ask questions while the other person will be able to answer and discuss because it is for a set time. Bringing up the issues and questions at any time of any day or night can be stressful and invade your whole life in a way that blocks out fun or joy of any kind. Makes sense to me. 

Thank the Lord Josh and I don’t have adultery to discuss, but we do have plenty of other bumps in the road of life that need our attention. One of the main points about communication was to recognize that communication is a two-way street. There is a SPEAKER and a LISTENER. She made the point that even when you are the speaker, you don’t always pay enough attention to what you are saying. I may say one of my kids’ names in a story when I meant to say the other kids’ name. Or I could say something happened yesterday when it was actually this morning. I don’t always speak exactly what I mean to speak.

The Listener has a filter of their own life circumstances that could cause confusion. Or maybe the listener is distracted or thinking of what they want to say. 

At this point I told Josh we could discuss home renovations, next vacation, financial budget, etc. at our Marriage Staff Meeting. He perked up when I mentioned finances. Now I was speaking his language. “Yeah, I would like to go over the budget soon.”

I told Josh I need a cap on Amazon prime in the area of books or maybe I should get a library card! Here’s how the convo went:

Kristy: I think I spend way too much on books, but I need you to tell me to stop. I have no self control.

Josh: Well, I don’t mind investing in books. How many would you read in a month?

Kristy: I could read three books a month pretty easily. But that’s just too much.

Josh: No, three is great. {at the point he is thinking in his head. I am still at the lunch table; I have not entered his head} That would be sixty a month or so.

Kristy: Huh? You mean a year…{I am slow at math and figured he was trying to see how many books I would read in a year at that rate}

Josh: {Looking at me like I am sloooow} I mean a month.

Kristy: I don’t understand.

Josh: 60 a month.

Kristy: 60 what?

JOsh: 60 dollars. I said that.
Kristy: No, you said, “Sixty a month.” I didn’t know what you meant.

Josh: I think I said Sixty dollars a month if the book is about $20.

Kristy: You had that whole conversation in your head because I just heard you say “Sixty a month” with no clarifying points or additional words. 

 {At this point Josh recalls the conversation, repeating how it went and then realized he did indeed say “Sixty a month” and expected I read his mind.}

We both laughed and thought how great to have had two specific instances happen about this little tip on communication….you don’t always say exactly what you think you say. And the person listening would do well to summarize in their own words what they heard you say so that you can be sure that you are communicating well. I love that. And funny thing, I have heard this before, but I think you know as well as I do that we tend to not always practice good communication even though we know what might work best. Life gets busy. We get impatient. And that’s when things can go bad. 

So let me encourage you to show some grace to your spouse {and others!} when it comes to communication. Recognize the potential for miscommunication. And, like the counselor’s second point emphasized, be a truly good listener. Put your own concerns on hold and give your spouse you full attention—no interrupting, no commenting, no defending yourself and then when they are done, ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS. Any Who, What, When, Where or How questions…usually no Why questions as they are often just hidden statements or even jabs at the person. I think I will give this a try this evening!

It takes effort, intentionality and genuine love to be a good communicator—-speaking or listening. I want to be good at both! 

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