My son, Joshua, is six years old at the time of writing this post and boy has he taught me life lessons. I thank God for him because not only has he taught me life lessons but even how to communicate better with my husband. Here are a few worthy of mentioning:
Gentleness and Respect are Key
How many times are we gentle with people outside of our home vs. the people within it? Ouch.
Honestly it can be challenging to honor gentleness and even more so respect especially when you “deserve to the right” to have the final say so. With my son I noticed when I was harsh in my tone or how I approached something he was not one bit motivated to do anything of what I suggested.
Instead I learned that a soft and loving tone communicates respect (even when on the inside I want to respond differently). I found that my tone instilled in him a level of confidence to make decisions through the trials, errors and wins of life. The older my son grows the more I see a yearning for respect thus the more I must communicate in this fashion. I can either push him away or push him toward Christ in the manner in which I am gentle and respectful. I choose the latter.
The same went with my husband. The more gentle and respectful I was with him or a situation involving him the more productive the overall conversation. This takes a lot of dying to the flesh and not having the last word.
Men Process Differently
Like most women I can talk, be thinking of something and respond to question all at the same time. Women are master multi-taskers! Even my three year old daughter can respond to a question, feed her baby doll and share her day from preschool all within the same train of thought.
My son and husband on the other hand think and process differently. Good differently but differently.
When I would verbally ask my son to complete a list of items to do such as brushing his teeth, reading for 10 minutes, and straightening up his room, he would usually only get one of tasks completed. I would then get frustrated and accuse him of not listening.
He told me one day “Mom you give me so many things to do and I need to focus on one thing at a time”. Whoa! Insert mom-guilt. Was I overloading him? Then it dawned on me that he processed and completed tasks differently… much like my husband.
Instead of telling him ten things and expecting him to complete and conquer I simply write down the tasks so he can cross them out as he went. What a difference! This has alleviated frustration in our morning routine.
Answers to Questions Take Time
Even when asking a question, I found he just needed time to think. When I would ask a question I noticed, like my husband, if he gave me an immediate response he would likely change the response thirty minutes later simply because he had the time to think and process. This was a little frustrating as I likely would have already started making moves based off of response #1.
Instead of expecting an immediate response and being a nagging mother I simply began giving him the space the think and not pressuring him with an immediate response.
This thought process transcended to the relationship with my husband. I knew previously that my husband needed time to process and think things through but now I knew on a totally different level. Giving him the space to think and process not only helped him but our entire relationship. There was less pressure on both sides and more communicative thought. The harshness was gone and their was freedom to just be.
You think after seven years of marriage I would have figured this out. I’m glad I have a six year old to remind me of the little things in life that make the biggest difference.