Through a sweaty battle with the stair climber, I read Glennon's words on how she chose to communicate for effectively with her spouse Craig and it got me to thinking- am I communicating effectively with my partner?
In Glennon's case, it was her birthday and as she lay in bed with anticipation for the day's excitement, it quickly dawned on her that the heaps of balloons and birthday cake were not happening. She soon became upset and called her husband to scratch that day as her birthday and start all over again the next...kind of like a re-do. When I first read that, I thought, "wow that sounds bratty." I mean, the world still turns regardless if it's your birthday or not. However, Glennon took the time to explain to her husband how she grew up celebrating special occasions like birthdays. Like me, Glennon takes birthdays and holidays seriously. It's a time for celebration, but unlike Glennon, if the balloons and cake were forgotton, I would have normally let it slide.
My spouse, Ryan, is not a romantic guy. That very sentence is uttered so much in my life, it's kind of become a marriage slogan. But it's true. He's not a romantic guy and he also didn't grow up celebrating the way that I did. I LOVE to throw themed parties. I'm a details kind of gal, so any opportunity in which I can gather friends and stick them in themed sweaters is a good time to me. However, Ryan never really grew up like that. This would come to play in several scenarios in our young marriage. You may have even read about our 2nd wedding anniversary fiasco. I was so irate with him for eating our anniversary dinner without me that I walked up the stairs and cried for a little bit. For some it may sound silly, but waves of disappointment came over me. So when I read that chapter in Glennon's book, I realized that she may be onto something.
My spouse is not a mind reader. I can't possibly put that expectation on him because it's too big of a burden. He is however a kind and thoughtful man who loves me. Ryan is always the first to admit that he appreciates some direction in surprising me or putting together an event. So in Glennon's chapter when she lays out her expectations, as silly as it may have sounded to the reader, made a lot of sense to her husband and also to me. The fact of the matter is that you can't expect flowers, candles, cake, and balloons if you don't express that. My husband isn't going to magically turn into Pinterest husband extraordinaire overnight or on his own. It forced me to reflect on all of the times that I've created high expectations for him without any guidance or direction. Like when I was disappointed with Christmas because we weren't with family that year. If I can't communicate that with him and figure out ways to combat sadness or disappointment, imagine how he feels. He's also disappointed because he doesn't want me to be upset and then he feels like he has failed me. All saddening emotions that could have been avoided through better communication.
Have you ever gone through this with your partner? What things did you find most effective in helping build your communication?