You know that moment when you are in the middle of something, get halfway done with the task, and then commit to coming back to finish in the future but it never happens. Yeah- that is this post. Ha! Flash back to February when we decided to take a little journey on a marriage retreat.
There is a first time for everything. In an effort to challenge ourselves this year and step out of our marriage comfort zone we signed up to spend our Valentine’s weekend at a marriage retreat.
(Everyone rolls their eyes)
Yeah we didn’t know what to expect. We thought we would be surrounded by discussions of feelings and your best marriage. And while that was true, that wasn’t the complete focus. The true focus was on being together, disconnected from technology, and trying new things.
I think my favorite thing about the weekend other than the commitment to avoid our cell phones if the other person was in the room, was the team building activities. We did this one communication activity where one of us had a picture of shapes (circles, triangles, and squares), and had to communicate the layout to the other person. The challenge was to see how we communicated to one another and discover how the other person heard our instructions. After the first round of the exercise, we switched roles and had a new photo to attempt to communicate and draw.
We learned a lot during this exercise about the fact that when we describe things, they don’t always come across exactly as we want because of our spouses ability to interpret the request. For example, I may say “Conner please do the dishes before our friends come over tonight”. He interprets it as needing to do the dishes 5 minutes before the crowd arrives rather than doing it within the 15 minute window after I communicated my desire. While he wasn’t wrong in his execution of the request, it gave me anxiety because I did not clearly communicate and make sure he heard my true desire.
While this is just one example of the break down of how communication comes across, it truly allowed us to pause and remember that we are each made differently and therefore communicate differently. Rather than finding fault in one another, we have to extend grace and figure out a way to communicate effectively so that we feel heard and valued.
Honestly, the weekend was a blast, less “talk about your feelings because you are doing it wrong” than I would have thought this type of environment would brew. It was a relaxing weekend away, we walked away with a new understanding of one another, and appreciation for our common values.