Recently, we asked our Leadership Roundtable participants an open-ended question: What is the biggest communication challenge you have in your marriage? Like many relationships, marriages can be easily strained and stretched when communication is not working. And that stress is a major drama causing factor.
One of the answers we received was, “My biggest challenges are feeling like I need to do everything and not paying enough attention to really listen to what they are saying.”
This one was loaded with challenges Lisa and I could not wait to impact on our Drama Free Living podcast. In a young marriage or once children enter the picture, the division of household tasks can be a frighteningly powerful source of conflict. When you couple that with the challenge of truly listening to one another, you have a recipe for an unhappy household. Here are some tactics we suggest to keep the drama at bay:
1. Have grace for your spouse’s humanity.
We all have different gifts, passions, and fears. Your spouse likely has a unique set from yours and therefore may approach things differently. They also may move at a different pace from you because their drivers are not the same. The first goal you should have is to appreciate those differences. Don’t try to change their differences because they are what make your spouse who they are.
2. Remember relationships are not efficient.
Ambitious leaders struggle with this notion in particular. You should not be looking at your relationship with your spouse as one centered on efficiency. Instead, value in relationships is only extracted through quality time that is anything but efficient. Focus on becoming a student of your spouse as your chief goal instead.
3. Slow down to find value.
Sometimes we are so caught up in our own lives that we don’t pay attention to those closest around us. If you find yourself in a conversation with your spouse and notice you have disengaged, stop your brain and focus on what you value in that other person. By actively remembering their value, you will find yourself naturally respecting what they bring to the conversation because your focus is on them.
We are all unique creations and our hearts are fashioned individually. It is a great adventure to continue to discover your spouse’s heart and who they are. When you find yourself distracted or frustrated, you have probably lost that focus. It is never too late to get it back.