“Perfect” Words

perfect-word

I have been working hard to use the “perfect” words and phrases in my everyday interactions in order to minimize conflict and optimize understanding. Our therapists say to try to increase our usage of them everyday. Here they are:

  1. I love it when______
  2. Help me understand
  3. What would make it easier for you?
  4. I just got triggered and I feel ______
  5. Can I have a re-do? (Meaning you screwed up and would like to try again)
  6. I am not comfortable with______. Perhaps we can try ______ instead. How do you feel about that?
  7. I have a concern about_____
  8. I heard you say _____ and I am wondering what you mean by that.
  9. I am trying to understand please tell me more.

 

I have to say some of them work better than others. It seems like the “I like it when…” phrase often brings about the desired results and by saying “What would make it easier for you?” I get to know exactly what would be the most beneficial thing I could for B at that moment in time.

Last night I tried the “I have a concern about…” and it bombed…BIG TIME. Not only did  I feel like my words had exploded in my face and I had been cut by shrapnel; I ended up feeling like a fire work that just wanted to explode…light the fuse…I dare you. Let me explain.

The kids started school two weeks ago and it has been absolute chaos. Between each kid being at a different school,  two carpools, and one kid also taking a college class in addition to normal high school work; the hectic threshold has increased 20 fold in his house. Already I have gotten two phone calls and two emails from Andre’s school, one from Gracie’s and have had to contact Paul’s school three times for various things in addition to talking to the counselor. Add to that book marking each kids classes(12 total) so we can check on homework every night finding/loading emails for teachers and two IEP teams…well let’s just say that it has been a challenge.

So last night when I got home late after being voted in as secretary of a school organization (more about that some other time) I found B watching the Olympics which then proceeded to his playing of the bagpipes. Meanwhile, I went upstairs to ensure that Andre was doing his homework and spent 30 minutes going through all his class websites with him after getting a call from school earlier in the day. I spent another 20 minutes re-organizing his notebooks for what I hope is greater understanding of where papers/homework are and where handouts should go. I did the same  last night with Paul who seems to not be getting any homework… hmmm. Had to check on that too.

As I climbed into bed, after thinking long and hard about how I wanted to approach the issue, I said to B:

“I have a concern about ______ (“using “perfect” word phrase) how we are going to get the boys through school this year.(Two boys who have autism and face many challenges when in school) So far I have received several emails and phone calls from the schools and since the boys are both in high school now, where even more is expected of them; I think we need to come up with a plan on how we are going to handle this because I can’t do it all. If you have any ideas about this I would be glad to hear them. This is what I was thinking. I was thinking that perhaps I could be responsible for Andre and checking his classes and that you could do the same for Paul. If there was math homework that help was needed on you could do that (I don’t do math) and English would be my responsibility. What do you think? Or do you have something else in mind?”

“I work from 7 am to 6 pm. I can’t do it.”

CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL  (To find out what this means ) Read Sitting In the Silence

“Well, honey, I work too. I drive two carpools, answer calls and emails from the school, pay bills, clean house. I work too. I’m sorry, you don’t get to just hang up all the responsibilities of this household when you walk in the door.”

And so it went.

Later I told him, “You know I worked very hard thinking about how to say what needed to be said in a way that was non-confrontational using the words/phrases our therapists taught us and I feel like you just shot me down. I am very disappointed about how this went.”

“You are entitled to your feelings. Feelings are neither right nor wrong,” which is B’s new catch phrase.

Yeah, well, buddy… my feelings are now ones of being pissed and angry at your feelings of entitlement and your lack of sensitivity that I am trying my best to have a calm discussion with you to get what we both want/need for our boys. I am also thinking that if we had divorced you would be getting half of these calls, doing half these carpools and that you would need to hire and pay for wife that you now have for free. An expensive proposition to say the least. Frankly, I would like to kick you in the ass for being such a blockhead.

And so I went downstairs and listened to THREE meditation podcasts in an effort to bring myself back down to earth and re-locate my place of serenity. Afterwards, as I reflected on the day I wondered it there really is such a thing as “perfect words.”

I guess the answer is no…but I will keep trying to use them anyway.

And now I will:

images-5

 

 

 

Love Is A Choice

imgres-7

If there is something else of importance that I came away with from this weekend’s Marriage Encounter it is that LOVE IS A CHOICE.  It is a choice that you make again and again and again over the lifetime of your relationship. The choice to love begins when you wake up in the morning and think pleasant thoughts of your spouse while he lays there sleeping. It is present when you decide to take the time to really listen to what your partner is saying. And it renews itself when you chose to give your sweetie the benefit of the doubt and believing in the best instead of the worst.

I am not sure when B and I forgot this or if we ever viewed love in exactly this way. Letting resentments build up is not choosing to love. Foregoing intimacy is not choosing love. Escaping from each other by putting other things first is not choosing love and I know these things were happening in our relationship. No wonder our relationship became unsatisfying to both of us. Other things intruded and we did not recognize it nor stop it when we did. Making sure that our love for each other a priority just never got very high on the list.

I thought it might be difficult to make sure that B knew I was choosing love. But staying connected throughout the day via texting and dialoguing at night is helping us to see that putting our relationship first makes us feel good about the other. It makes us appreciate and celebrate what we have.

Sure, it has only been a few days and we have yet to be put to the test with schedules, poor behavior and a disagreement. But I have hope that as long as we both remember that LOVE IS A CHOICE and choose to honor the choice we have been blessed by; then loving each other as the unique individuals we each are will become as natural as a rose opening itself for all the world to appreciate and see.

 

A Grand Slam

images-5

Marriage is like baseball. If you are lucky you get to play in a few extra innings, you make it to home plate more than you strike out and you have many winning seasons. I was reminded of this tonight when a guy showed up at our door to take out our daughter Jackie. He was wearing a baseball cap; his ears sticking out from the sides. He looked nervous, kind of like the rookie on the team, who is up to bat for the first time. And as I watched him look at my daughter I knew without a doubt that he is not “the one.” He’s a pitch hitter until she find the one who hits the grand slam. I suspect that just by looking at her face I will know “the one” when I see him.

I can only hope that our daughter picks well. That she finds a man somewhat like her dad. A kind, caring and compassionate man who puts those he loves in the forefront of his life. A husband who tries hard each and every day. A partner that is smart, funny and shares his feelings. A man that she find as hot 20 years into their marriage as the day that she met him. The kind off mate with whom “the rest of your life” truly means just that, and who, when he envisions the future sees her in every play-by-play, and in every scene. I hope she chooses a husband who dares to dream big dreams and has the tenacity to make them come true. And one that doesn’t spit. Yes, definitely one who doesn’t spit.

I hope  as the game plays out that they both understand that it isn’t the World Series events that pull you apart but the thousands of annoying pitches that you have to take day in and day out and that if you don’t have a loving and positive attitude during practice that eventually you’ll get hit by a foul ball. Anyone can survive playing in the majors but it is really how you handle the everyday minors that count. And I hope that when it is time for them to create their own team that they understand that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it is how you play the game. For it is only with an abundance of kindness and giving more than you take that you get to walk in this life together around the bases instead of striking out early on it the game.

Copyright 2/9/16