Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years of Learning – Communication

King and I celebrate our 8th anniversary today! It’s been eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LEARNING. We have been to 2 marriage retreats in the past month. We learned a great deal from listening to our leaders’ stories and testimonies.

Pastor Steve Murrell and his wife Deborah gave the last session at our marriage retreat in Bellevue. They talked about COMMUNICATION.

They began by showing us a picture of their family because they wanted to remind us that our marriage impacts way beyond the two of us. They gave us many scriptures, all from Proverbs, and helpful practical tips on how to communicate with each other.

Two things jump at me as I look at my notes — exaggeration and nitpicking! When my children exaggerate, using words like ALWAYS, EVERY TIME or NEVER, it really annoys me and sometimes hurts my feelings. At the retreat, I got reminded that I actually do that to King too. It is a barrier to good communication. It actually STOPS communication. Must stop it (the exaggeration), cut it out.

Another barrier to communication is nitpicking. Women tend to stick to accuracy. That is so me! Little details are important to me, and not so much to King (and most men, I hear). I have a thing for stories lining up and being truthful, maybe because my number 1 strength (Strength Finders) is Belief haha. BUT, I must be reminded about picking my battles and my timing.

I am happy to say I think I’m learning to do that! Two weeks ago, King and I spoke at Victory Muntinlupa’s Youth (ONLINE) leadership convergence. While King was sharing about this restaurant and the issues they were dealing with, he got one detail wrong. Because it was a small gathering of about 65 and I was just a few feet away, I sooooo wanted to raise my hand and correct him. Hahaha. Thank God wisdom prevailed! I kept thinking, what would be worse — that I correct him in front of all the young people or that he make one tiny mistake? I held my urge to correct and forgot about it. I told him a day or two later. Breakthrough!

Happy 8th anniversary Babe! We’re steadily improving in this communicating thing. From glory to glory! I love you! 🙂

This is post #6 out of 8, for 8 wonderful years! Click here for post#5 and here for post #7! 🙂

Marriage

SEASON OF CHALLENGES

I really enjoyed what Yeng and Michelle did to start their session entitled SEASON OF CHALLENGES, at our recently concluded Couples’ Getaway 2011. We were divided into groups of 8 or more couples. The task was for each spouse to instruct his/her blindfolded spouse to avoid stepping on the unnecessary toys and pick up the one item that is assigned to them. Whichever team would get all 10 items first, would win. Strategic planning, then the blindfolding were done in the function room. The game was outside. I was the one blindfolded. I did not see which lane was for our team, or see the arrangement of toys. King & I were the 3rd in our line and our item was the wrist watch.

I’m so proud of King! He was an excellent leader and team player! As I was blindfolded, waiting for our turn, he already gave me specific instructions. He told me that if he says PENGUIN, I’m supposed to take baby steps. I demoed it for him to confirm. If he says BIG STEP or SMALL STEP, I’m supposed to take a step but wait for him to tell me how much further or nearer, and wait for him to tell me when to set my foot down. Instructions were clear from the very beginning.

When it was our turn, I trusted him completely. When he said STOP, I stopped immediately. When I was not clear on what he wanted me to do, I would clarify. If I could not understand the instruction, I told him so, then he would change it in a way that I understood. He was calm and very patient. I was attentive and surprisingly calm too. I followed his instructions carefully, as best as I could. We went through the challenge JUST ONCE! Which means I didn’t step on any object at any time, else I’d have to go back from the beginning all over again. Of course, my Crocs flats helped too, because they aren’t big shoes. It was easier to avoid the little toys. After our turn, King helped the rest of our teammates by guiding them and encouraging them.

Our team did not win the challenge, we finished 3rd, but it was such a cool experience. The game was very telling of how a couple TRUSTS, how they COMMUNICATE, and with what kind of ATTITUDE they approach challenges in their marriage.

Much like in our marriages, we start the game on the same page. But along the way, things happen, things change. There are times that communication is not clear or is not working. We need to work to understand each other. Re-adjusting is necessary. It was great that I ended up being the one led, just as a wife is. I had to trust my husband’s leadership. I did not assume that I knew better, because I couldn’t. I was the one who couldn’t see anything! Sometimes, we have blind spots. We must be wise & loving in how we tell our spouse of their blind spots, and when we are the ones being reminded, we must trust in their wisdom and love too. Attitude is everything! If you let your temper or frustration get the better of you, then communication, wisdom, trust go out the window, and are replaced by PRIDE.

Haha, I’m getting rebuked as I write this. We did great in the game, but reality is a different story. MUST APPLY IN REAL LIFE! 🙂

Check the previous blog SEASONS to find out what our assigned item represented, along with the rest of the 9 items. Included there are the lessons we learned from the other speakers as well. 🙂

Motherhood, Parenting

“YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!!!”

Danae and I were at the dining table yesterday, eating and talking. I thought we were talking about what happened in Japan, so when she was saying something about a storm, I immediately corrected her and said that it wasn’t a storm but an earthquake. She got confused and I proceeded to tell her about the events in Japan. She got so frustrated with me that she put her head down and cried. I asked her why she was crying and she loudly said, with all her emotion, “because you’re not listening to me!”

Poor Danae. I felt for her. Many times I felt frustrated when I was young, that I wasn’t being heard. I immediately apologized and explained. I should have listened first because she was talking about typhoon Ondoy and what she remembered about it.

I’m so glad that early on, we are already learning how to listen and communicate. I’m glad that my daughter can freely tell me how she feels. Thank God I’m the type of mom who is willing to hear her out and talk it through. And thank God we were only discussing relatively unimportant details of a certain event. Fast forward to adolescence when we talk about things way more complicated, this dynamic, this habit of communicating, will be of great help to us.