It’s been almost a year since I self-published After I Do – a look into our first year of marriage, all the change, what I learned, and the faithfulness of God through it all. I’ve shared a couple portions before, and wanted to share one very personal one, from the chapter on faith, and the importance of vulnerability and gospel change in a marriage. If you would like to get a copy of the book, you can order it in either print or eBook format here:
It can also be found on Apple eBooks by typing in After I Do, Lani Lupul.
Here is a short snippet on two things I learned in our first year of marriage that are key in communication…
With kindness and humour
In my alone moments around the house – be it folding laundry or curling my hair – I can catch myself overthinking something. Sometimes I worry without realizing it, and other times I pray whether it’s worth bringing up, or when is the right time to do so.
Two things I’ve picked up on in our first year that would help all of us:
1) Practice kindness when you express and communicate
Men respond to kindness, not accusation or curtness. Because I tend to stew (I’m working on that with God’s grace!) about something, it works up my emotions, which Troy can read like an open book.
There’ve been numerous occasions where we’re driving somewhere and he’d put his strong hand on mine and ask, “Are you okay?” I can’t lie. Fine is never an optional response. Usually, my intent was to bring up whatever was on my mind later on, when we both had time to focus on the conversation and I had time to figure out how to say what I wanted to say. Well, it doesn’t always happen like that. Once Troy knows there is something on my mind, he will think on it all day, drawing conclusions of his own.
My job in this situation is to learn to pray more, and control my mind and emotions until the point when I am ready to talk about it, and I know Troy is in a headspace to listen.
It’s a learning curve, but I feel like we are further ahead in our communication than we were the day we got married, and that’s what counts – progress, not perfection.
2) Find a sense of humour in expression
For some reason, this one was really hard for me. Fortunately, there are a few ladies in my life who have 10-40 years of marriage and life experience on me that I can learn from. One thing I picked up on this past year is that I need to learn to lighten up – not make mountains out of molehills.
One new friend of mine is a beautiful interior designer in her fifties who’s been married for about 13 years. When we read through The Power of a Praying Wife together, we’d meet every couple of weeks to discuss. On one of the days, while sipping tea together in her lovely home, I shared how I wasn’t sure how to get Troy to hang up his clothes at the end of the workday.
Again, let’s lay this out. I’d been working from home, thus had a lot more time at home to clean, nest and become a homemaker. Troy on the other hand, would work his butt off all day, come home quite exhausted, and often plan to ‘re-use’ his work clothes.
I clean while I cook. He leaves a storm of butter, spices, and unplugged appliances in his wake.
I cook with a recipe. He cooks by taste.
He wakes up making funny noises and accents. I wake up, well, I wake up.
You get my drift. We’re different. Thus the reason we actually work so well together as a team, but have also had to adjust to each other!
I know this isn’t uncommon for wives and husbands to have the debate over home and tidiness. I just wasn’t sure how to approach it without being accusing or sounding like a Mom – the last thing I wanted.
She joked that she had used the comment, “Is this your new floordrobe?” to her husband and something clicked for me; the sense of humour this New Zealand friend had was something I needed to practice more.
And since that time, I have found it easier and easier to be sarcastic or humorous with things around the house, or with our differences. Troy and I love laughing together, and laughing at ourselves. One breakfast recently we found ourselves laughing over pancakes as we started our day together. It was special, even if we were laughing at ourselves!
Communication with kindness and a sense of humour goes further to diffuse the possibility of hurt feelings when we intentionally approach it with a lighter heart. Try it out, I bet it will work some wonders for you like it did for me!