A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on How to Connect with Your Kids Before Correcting Them. You can read more about The Connect Before You Correct concept here. Below Today I’m discussing how Connect Before You Correct can play out in your marriage…
- Does your marriage ever feel more like a business to be managed than a relationship to be cherished?
- Are you a Get-It-Done type who has a whole list of things for your husband to do at all time?
- Do you ever find yourself barking orders at your husband as you try to manage all the coming and goings of your kids’ and their activities?
If so, then you might benefit from assessing how you can better Connect Before You Correct in your marriage.
I’m the kind of person who often jumps from my bed with my To Do List filling my brain and quickly spilling out of my mouth. My husband, not so much. He feels accosted when I spout out things that need to be done.. Unlike me, he likes his coffee before he fully enters the day and doesn’t really want me telling him what to do all the time, either.
Any other taskmaster-types out there?
So in the morning, I have learned to keep my To Do List in my head…or jot it down on a piece of paper. Sure, I still have lots of things I’d like my husband to do. But with Connect Before you Correct, I approach my day a little differently now.
Nobody wants to be constantly reminded of what needs to be done and directed on how to do it…and I definitely guilty of doing that with to husband, especially when my stress is amped up. In order to Connect Before I Correct in this scenario, I have to pause, take a deep breath, and think about my tone and my words before I speak.
Also, instead of haphazardly talking about our agendas, my husband and I now connect regularly over our family calendar. This intentional time together leaves us feeling like more of a team than ships passing in the night. Weekly, we sit down at the kitchen table, with our personal calendars in hand, and together fill in the dates of all of our activities on a large 22” x 17” wall calendar (when we were in the thick of raising our family, we used different colored markers for each family member). Then we discuss what else we would like to get done amidst our busy schedules. We make a list, together, of all the things we need to do, short-term and long-term, to keep our home in decent shape--raking, cleaning our cars, odd paint jobs, patio repair work, etc. And then we prioritize the list. It eliminates the need to constantly tell my husband what I’d like him to do. Since it’s a list we’ve come up with together and prioritized, we don’t have to keep verbally repeating. The list hangs on our kitchen bulletin board for both of us to see. Once the task is completed it gets crossed off the list. Taking the time to connect with my husband in this way makes us receptive to the others requests.
Connect Before You Correct can be applied to how we approach daily interactions. When speaking to my husband I should start with something positive, like appreciating what he does instead of lamenting about what he doesn’t.
So instead of…
“Remember when you lived on your own and one of your sponges actually started sprouting a seedling from a grapefruit seed…I can’t believe after 30 years, you’re still leaving that sponge soaked with filth and bacteria in the bottom of the sink?”
I can say…
“Honey…I so appreciate you wiping up the counters. And I have a thing about leaving the sponges in the bottom of the sink. I feel like I can see the bacteria. Would you mind rinsing and wringing out the sponge after you use it?” (Yes…even if it’s the 10th or the 100th time.)
And instead of…
“Why wouldn’t you bring that stack of towels up? Didn’t you see them sitting on the stairs…you must’ve practically tripped over them…I know I did!”
I can say…
“I know it’s been a long day and I’m sure you’re tired. Would you mind bringing up that stack of towels off the bottom of the stairs the next time you come up?”
Connect Before You Correct applies to all situations in our life. It’s important to take time to speak and respond mindfully, instead of thoughtlessly and carelessly. << Click to Tweet
Here’s what Connecting Before Correcting requires:
- Understanding – indicating that you making an effort to grasp the other person’s struggle or even personality.
- Empathy - slowing down just a bit to put yourself in the other person’s shoes—kids, spouses, parents, even the grocery clerk.
- Reflecting and Relating – Sharing your own relatable experience.
- Brainstorming – A cooperative approach to a solution.
This takes intentionality and practice. When you start to make the shift, you might feel inauthentic, fake, like “that’s just not me.” But keep doing it. I promise it will make a difference in your marriage. It demonstrates that you care…and in return you’ll receive mutual respect and care. Win-Win!
Elise Daly Parker has been married for 28 years and is mom to four mostly grown girls. She is a writer, editor, writing coach, and blogger. She believes we all have stories that matter--big life bios and small meaningful moments. Elise believes our stories are a reflection of God’s glory and are meant to be shared. They have the power to inform, reform, and transform. She loves God, family, friends...and really likes travel!