Last week I didn't teach the sunbeams because the Bishop wanted to talk to all the adults, during the last hour of church. He had recently listened to For All Eternity by Dr. John L Lund, he said by the third time he listened to it on CD, he thought I got teach my ward this stuff. (By the way anyone have a copy they want to loan me? I like reading over listening to CDs.)
The bishop talked about how people are terrible at communicated with each other. Our words only make up something like 8% of our communication. As many as you have probably heard men and women also communicated differently. The main point I came out with was specifically tell your spouse what you need. Society has taught us it means more if we don't have to ask for it, but that is wrong.
Not I want a birthday party
Or I want help in the yard
I want you to buy me 1, 2, 3, or 4, in blue and specific cake.
Or can you help me in the yard on saturday for three hours.
Or I want to watch x amount of sports this weekend, what can I do before hand to help you so I'm not interrupted.
I'm stressed out I need to talk to you for 20 minutes, tell me when you have 20 minutes to focus on what I'm saying.
He said then their duty is up, the time is up, they are done, they are off the hook, stop.
I have really been thinking about what he said, Society has taught us it means when when don't have to ask for it, but that is wrong. How true.
I really related to was he said, clearly tell you spouse what you need. We can't expect our spouse to guess what we are thinking. He used many examples the birthday one applied to me: maybe you really want something for your birthday. Instead of expecting a surprise and then being disappointed and mad at your spouse. Maybe come up with a specific list of four items you want then be surprised which item you get. That really spoke to me, because the holidays whether birthday, anniversary, christmas, what not, that I'm totally upfront with very thing I'm expecting from my husband are extremely enjoyable. But when I think oh he should understand by now, he knows what I like to do, I am always fed up. Some years I am totally up front with him, and they are so fun and I come away thinking wow my husband is great, my birthday was great. But last year, I "let him off the hook" we were sick, he was working and in school, and I have been mad him for eight months about my birthday. I have to say after church on Sunday, I realize what I did wasn't fair. I was the one in the wrong. But we do that so much in society, we tell someone what we want is not important, then get mad when they believe that is not important. We do that many different relationships that are not just marriages. But back to the previous example, last year for mother's day, I said I want you to go help Josh pick something out to buy me. He said where should I go? I said I don't know walmart, wander around the home goods and find something that josh wants to buy me. I also want you guys to make me cards, and what are we going to eat for dinner? I want this desert. I came home from ward choir practice and they had made cards and wrapped up makin' bacon. It was a great holiday. Every time I use my bacon cooker which is often I think wow, Brent and Josh can get a present for me together.
But back to marriages, we were all raised very differently, and so we come into marriage only knowing how we were raised, and it was completely different than our spouse, so the only way we can be happy is be honest and clear when we are talking.
I will say, in some matters I was already doing this in my marriage and I think it works great. I'm sure most stay at moms experience that, oh great my husband is home, great another adult to talk to, and someone to play with the kids. Then the only thing that happens is your husband comes home sits on the couch and remains super quiet no matter what happens, for at least 20 minutes as he decompress from the world. Well in the past I haven't used a time frame, so I should probably start. But instead of being mad that my husband doesn't want to talk, I figured out its much more successful to say, hey I got something that is important to me to tell you, can you tell me when you are ready to listen. Then not talk to him at all until he talks to me, and when he does talk to me, if he doesn't say he is ready to listen, I realize we are having a conversation not me telling him about the day. I wait for him to say, whats on your mind. Works 150% better and then I don't yell at him for not listening, and I'm satisfied with our conversation when its over. Also I've found as the bishop mentioned, if you want your husband to listen to your problems, tell him he is only listening, if you want a solution, say, I need help what do you think I should do.
But this is just good stuff all around. I'm working with my five year old to be better at communicating, and being assertive. When he wants something, I trying to help him ask the other kid, or adult. Just a minute ago, he came to me and said, I need you to follow me. I looked at him and said, tell me what you need. He said I need you to help me. I asked him what help he needed. Then he finally said, I need you type in Spongebob. I asked him if he needed me to type it in or if he just needed it spelled out. He walked away happy with a piece of paper with Spongebob written on it so he could play his computer game. I didn't go all through that to be difficult, I went through all that, because I'm trying to get him to ask for what he wants. I want him to be able to clearly talk to adults. I noticed Brent is good at getting people to help him, because he is so clear, Hey can you help me on Saturday, we are doing specific specific specific it should only take two hours. The other thing I thought of it, is in church, when someone says, we can you come to this meeting about _____ it will only take a 30 minutes, even if we are don't finish we'll end it at 4:30, I am so much more willing to go and participate. I hate when anything doesn't have a stop time listed, whether its a meeting or baby shower. I don't care if things go longer as long as I can choose to leave when things are set to be over.
This really is good stuff, I was talking to my husband on the phone on Sunday telling him about church. He said ok, so what is it you need? I said I don't know let me thinking about it. I realize I need better birthdays, so I need to tell him September 20th what I'm expecting. I like to buy presents, so I listen to him, all year long waiting for him to mention something he is interested in, then I write it down, so I have a whole list of things to choose from. And he is always super surprised, and loves his presents, for years I have wondered why can't he remember that I said that is one of my favorite movies, when we are watching previews. Well the bishop talked about this. He said his wife use to say, look there is a 7-11, he would say, yup there one is, and keep driving. When of course she was saying, hey honey, I'm thirsty will you go into the 7-11 and get me a diet coke. But he doesn't hear that, he thinks she is pointing something out not asking. But then last week he was driving to Denver with someone and said, exactly that, will you pull over next time we pass a 7-11, I'm thirsty. But I will take it one step farther, I think a lot of females have been taught to not be assertive in their needs. Sure I'm thirsty, but oh, I don't want you to go out of your way. You shouldn't care about little ol' me. I don't know why we are taught this, but we are. The bishop is right its stupid.
Also I just was chatting with Brent. I said do you think you should get movie tickets tonight? Then I said, let me rephrase that, I need you to stop on your way home from work at the movie theater to get the tickets for tomorrows show, so I won't yell at you when we are getting ready to leave. Guess what Brent did? He went to get the tickets, Imagine that. But if I wouldn't have rephrased that, he would have said, I don't know if you want me to. Then I would have said, only if you remember, and its not out of your way. Then tomorrow I would have yelled at him for making us late, and what if everything is all sold out, and then sat in the movie theater mad at him. Yeah, I'm a terrible date, I'm so mean when it comes to dates, that I don't let him take me out very often. But now we have lots of babysitters in this ward, and I've been taught to be clear in what I want, so maybe we'll start dating again. And in actuality, I am pretty controlling so I use to plan most of our dates, (ie where we ate, when we saw, when we were going) and we had a great time. But then for some reason I thought he should be in charge of it, and I was mad at him, and he was wondering what went wrong? Here is my last example I'm recording for posterity. I love to go to the temple, I would go every week if I didn't have kids, my husband doesn't quite share my exuberance, he would rather build his testimony by moving every family that comes in or out of the ward. Literally every move he is there. So instead, I say, tell me how many times you think you have time and are willing to go to the temple this year. He thinks about it for awhile and said, once a month, or every other month, or what not depending on what his schedule is for the year. Then if I plan for that many, and if it doesn't meet my quota, I go alone and he watches our kids. It works great and it is so much better than yelling at him to get dressed we are going to be late.
I say recording for posterity, I totally expect my daughters or granddaughters to want to read my blog books on day, and since I plan on this, they probably won't care at all.