This is a guest post by Steve Pare from Spouse Dates . He has been married to his lovely bride, Chrissy, since June 6th of 1992. He started Spouse Dates to help individuals (especially himself) cultivate a great marriage through the practice of dating their own spouse.
“I got you the perfect gift!”
“I wonder what it is?” she exclaims tearing into the wrapping paper. Narrowing her eyes with quiet disappointment, “Is this really what the box says it is?”
“Yes indeed! It’s exactly what you asked for,” he replies with a grin.
Raising her eyebrows, “Aren’t you a romantic husband,” she retorts, words dripping with sarcasm.
“What???” He stutters, stunned. “I thought you wanted a new vacuum cleaner. I even went over budget on this one,” he counters with growing frustration. “Look, I was trying to be romantic. It’s even pink, your favorite color! A cool and lengthy silence ensues….. and off to the dog house he goes.
Can you relate? Of course you can. What husband and wife have not misunderstood each other’s desires and expectations? Hopefully, you have learned a few things about your spouse and are beyond the experience of this couple. However, after over 20 years of marriage I can still relate all too well. There is so much more to learn.
What is a person to do? Read a book? Get counseling? Go to a seminar? Subscribe to marriage blogs?
Maybe all these could help.
But really, the solution does not lie in a technique that you do.
The solution lies in who you are. And in who you are becoming. The solution is to become an ardent student of your spouse.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they’ll bloom like flowers. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Here are a four ways to help you overcome miscommunication with your spouse.
- Be a constant learner and realize you are studying a “moving target”. You are not learning facts like you would in science or history class. You are learning a person. You are attending to a subject who is in constant motion and flux.
- Become aware of and accept the “otherness” of your spouse. Everybody is different, so you cannot assume that your spouse thinks and feels like you, especially when it comes to romance. Try taking the 5 love languages assessment to get some insights into your differences.
- Take courage and lovingly interrogate your spouse’s “reality”. What people perceive as “reality” changes over time. People forget to talk about those changes. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep the conversations going.
- Regularly date your spouse as a learning laboratory. Be consistent and yet mix it up. Do the familiar as well as try new things. Go dancing to study your spouse face to face. Have dinner out to study your spouse knee to knee. Go on a double date to study your spouse side to side. Volunteer to serve the needy together to study your spouse shoulder to shoulder. Click HERE to see what experts (including Cassie!) are saying about how important it is to date your spouse.
Obviously, these four ways are not easy nor are they quick. But then again neither is anything worthwhile. Take up the challenge and become an ardent student of your spouse!
What would you recommendations to help someone avoid the doghouse?