This is a picture of me and Darlene a couple days after we got married. I pulled this pic up today to have a look at it and remember that feeling of “we can conquer anything, God is with us!”
Today is day #468 of the Alliance and I love how far we’ve come! We have found a stride and a rhythm of life. We’ve learned to share a home and co-parent beautiful children with un-beautiful trauma. I’ve come to respect my wife even more because sometimes in the past year I thought parenting would break me (but for God’s grace it would have) and then I think, “how did she do this by herself for 10 years?” Shout-out to single moms who make it work and keep their hearts soft in spite of the inevitable toughening that’s required to carry so much with minimal support.
I’ve been on a growth journey with the material of Brene Brown and her thoughts and research about Vulnerability. I really don’t know which came first, learning about Vulnerability or the metamorphosis I’m going through. Maybe it was time for me to change so I looked up the learning that would facilitate what I needed to know. Or maybe coming across this wisdom triggered and activated a change deep within that led to this metamorphosis. It doesn’t really matter which came first.
Is there anything more vulnerable than having crucial conversations with your spouse? How do we talk to one another when the stakes are high? Before I began learning about vulnerability, my approach was just not to talk about it until it was absolutely necessary. Well, you already know that doesn’t work. I would wait until I was angry enough to say something, which was not helpful, because you can be right and still wrong at the top of your voice. Besides, anger is a secondary emotion. It’s just there to mask another feeling we don’t really want to face.
So, silence doesn’t work and anger doesn’t work. What does? I’ve found a couple things that work for me, and I just added Crucial Conversations to my Audible library, because I’m all for finding new tools, growing intentionally before mistakes instead of learning accidentally from mistakes.
One thing that does work is having a regularly scheduled weekly conversation where you know it’s ok to talk about hard things. Dar and I have what we call Real Talk Radio, where we can say things that might be too hard to swallow if they came up without any warning. At least this way we know there’s a possibility of being confronted with a tough truth.
We get our feelings hurt when we’re confronted by a truth we don’t want to face.
Another thing that works is praying for God to help me see the other person as He sees them and then speak to that version of them. In every man there is a King and a Beggar; In every woman a Queen and a Peasant. The one you speak to will respond. Ask God to show you the Queen, show you the King, in your spouse, and then address that version of them.
I look forward to adapting more tools for braving crucial conversations and the vulnerability that accompanies that.
I am incredibly grateful for a wife who calls me up higher, and does it graciously, and who also doesn’t banish me into outer darkness (aka, the land of Couch) when I try and fail and try again to facilitate crucial conversations with rippling impact in our family and community.
We are so blessed.
Be strong and of good courage, that’s Joshua 1:9
Go in the strength that you have. Am I not sending you? That’s Judges 6:14
Be strong enough to have the conversations that scare you. Be strong enough to be tender. Be Strong & Tender. Be #Strender. That’s us!