I received a bit of a surprise last night, thanks to a conversation inspired by “The Respect Dare.” In the particular dare I happened to be working through, I was challenged to ask my hubby how I am doing regarding my speech. Does he feel I talk down to him? How could I improve? You get the idea.
My first thought was, “Nope. Not doing it.” After all, the book did say I should do it if I was feeling brave and I couldn’t exactly say that was the case. But after a few moments of dragging my feet, I took the plunge. You see, I’ve got a history. I have a pretty wicked barb for a tongue when I am in a mood so I was afraid I would hear that I hadn’t made any changes.
To my delight, hubby assured me that things had been going much better and for a decent amount of time. Don’t get me wrong – I still need to work on consistency but I was thrilled to hear that steps are being taken in the right direction!
Then he kept talking and I’ve been meditating on what he said ever since! He told me that he often knew how the conversation was going to go before I even opened my mouth. Want to know how? My eyes. Yep, he said the look in my eyes could either draw him in or cause his defensive mechanism to kick in. He’s told me more than a few times that my eyes were one of the first physical traits he noticed about me back when we met. Now it’s the first place he looks when I approach him because he will know in an instant whether I am earnestly seeking a conversation or simply seeking to shred him.
There was a phrase that he used that stuck in my head – “seasoned with grace”. He was referring to the look on my face. Not my speech, my countenance! My heart aches a little when I think of the times that he has “interrupted” what I was doing to speak with me and I gave him an exasperated/irritated/frustrated face. So much for letting him know how important he is!
So my challenge to myself is to make sure that I approach him with a look that is, as he so aptly put it, “seasoned with grace”. That means I have to make sure everything about my approach is grace-filled and focused on relationship building, not “winning” some ridiculously useless power struggle. And I’m betting this approach will work with others in my family as well!