by Faith St. Clair
I love being able to blog. This is like world-wide therapy! I get to wax philosophical, ponder extemporaneously, ask rhetorical questions and I can usually garner a few solid remarks of peoples’ valued opinions – those who have been where I have been, who have asked and answered the same questions, who have proven records of emerging above the quandaries I find myself floundering in. And all for free! Who would have thunk?
Here’s my reflection for the day…
How come it is sometimes so hard to communicate with those that you love – the ones who should be the closest to you - your spouse, your kids? Why do we hesitate to express our thoughts and desires? What could be the worse thing that can happen? Well in some cases, it can cause riff, argument or tension. Well, we might understand the reason we’d want to avoid that, but what comes in its place? We get tension, riff and out-of-balance selves.
I have been going to see a therapist this last month – a health therapist. I’m trying to send my body into a healthy future for the last ½ of its existence. I’ve spent plenty of years abusing it with the wrong foods, not enough exercise and a lack of interest in the mechanics of it all. Well, my therapist keeps telling me to let go, first mentally, of anything that doesn’t serve me well. Once I can let go of that, I can let go of it physically.
Holding in discomforts, tension and imbalances in a relationship doesn’t serve anyone well. If we let out our tension, however, then our attempt to find “balance” will most often be viewed as “nagging”.
How is it possible to communicate frustrations in a positive light?
I have been married for 25 years and have struggled through my own communication issues over the years because I hate confrontation – and not just with my husband, but with my kids as well. I have even struggled at work, trying to communicate in high-tension situations. I have watched numerous friends and colleagues deal with a variety of communication issues in their marriages and families – some have failed and some have not, but whether it is a struggle between one spouse spending too much and one trying to save, one has a substance abuse problem, one is dealing with depression, one being diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease yet not wanting to pursue medical treatment, feelings of disconnectedness or growing apart, adultery, dishonesty, etc., etc.), there is always one thing in common. Although the scenarios can be as varied as the colors in heaven and differ in their severity, they are ALL emotionally draining. When things are not in ‘balance” at home, it debilitates every other life aspect. Being able to focus on any other issue or try to acquire happiness is an impossibility.
The first plan of action to these impasses should always be prayer and the effort to change ourselves, perspectives and attitudes. The latter is not always easy, but when we’ve done all that we can do and we’re still struggling to communicate with those we care about, what then?
Here is what I have learned from a friend and her marriage counselor (not my own idea) that works!
Write a letter.
Now, how easy is that for us writers?
Don’t kid yourself; it can be as difficult as finishing the first “War and Peace” novel you’ve been working on for 25 years. It is no easier for you than a “non-writer”. In this case, everyone is in the same boat.
Here, however, is a simple format that aids in the process…
Your letter will be three paragraphs.
The first paragraph should be filled with positives. You can tell him/her how much you love them, how grateful you are for them, how hard they work, etc. Basically, you recognize their strengths.
The second paragraph should be the “I feel” section. “I need to bring this to your attention”…how the situation makes you feel. Be careful not to condemn or accuse the person. Just pour out your feelings regarding the situation.
The last paragraph should be your request/expectations. Ask them to make an appointment with the doctor or a counselor, ask them to talk with you, ask them to write you a letter back – whatever you want from them. Be sure in your request to be specific about your expectation and give them a deadline. Something like, “Can we talk about this on Thursday night after I get home from work?” or “Can you please make an appointment with the doctors by the end of this week?” You get the idea; give them some time though between when you give them the letter and when you expect them to act.
Making difficulties in life easy, will always be our aim.
Happy writing, happy communicating, happy mending, happy uniting and happy loving…