I held my first “family conference” this week. It went so well that I think I may hold one every week. I’ve mentioned how my husband is not a big talker. We talk all the time but not about his feelings or if anything is bothering him. I stopped asking him if anything was wrong because I felt like a nag. Well the other night I got the truth. All of it.
I came home from work Monday, went down stairs to change and flipped on my little radio. I have no idea who the guy on the radio was but he was talking about his wife and how they finally started opening up about their feelings. He said they had a conference.
The key is you are not allowed to talk while your spouse is talking. Not one word. He even suggested duck tape if necessary. The conference consists of you asking one another three questions. Each person answers the question but does not comment on the other’s answer and then you move on to the next question. He said he and his wife held these conference every week and it eliminated a lot of tension and helped them understand each other better.
Jason and I haven’t had any arguments in a very long time but ever since the miscarriage I’ve wondered if he is telling me everything. They say men sometimes feel like their feelings are neglected after a miscarriage. I still have moments where I break down or find myself picturing her in heaven. I just wanted to make sure we had discussed it completely and that he wasn’t worried about me.
So after I came back upstairs I told Jason I wanted us to ask each other three questions and explained the no talking rule. The questions are:
1. What are your concerns?
2. What do you desire?
3. What are you willing to do about it?
These are not supposed to be about specific people or issues. It can be about anything.
I was prepared to be told he was worried about me following our new budget or that he was worried we would have another miscarriage. But nothing was about me.
Jason’s concerns are about the economy, his business and Riggs.
His desires were that we would stay healthy and happy and some stuff about his business. Again, he wasn’t asking me to do anything differently. WHAT!??? I had to stop him before the last question. “Are you sure there isn’t anything you want me to do differently?” He said no. He is happy with us just like we are.
But I had no idea about his other concerns. And by knowing what he worries about it makes me more sensitive to things I never would have thought of before. I like this exercise because it forces you to not just hear the other person but listen to them and to think of how you are going to help them with their concerns. Because when you get to the “What are you willing to do?” question you tell your spouse what you are willing to do (if anything) to help with his or her concerns. So if your spouse desires more help around the house, you could be willing to take out the trash or clean the kitchen every night.
Because of Jason’s concerns, I told him I was willing to hold off on buying the camera I’ve been eyeballing for some time.
I know my first conference was easy and that there will be times the concerns will be about me and I may be asked to do something I don’t want to or vice versa but I’m finding that the less we think of ourselves and focus on the other, the closer and happier we are.