Another week is over and the weekend lies before us like a drunken whore ready to be taken. Too much simile? We are looking forward to this weekend. We had planned a little romantic getaway and were sidelined by a little cold and a million loads of laundry (thanks to Sun Detergent for making it easier to keep our monkeys smelling nice). At this point, regardless of sniffles, we are getting away. Before we take off we need to wrap up relationship week.
Paul says: This week we have been giving you the rules to a happy relationship. The only problem is that I don’t really do rules. If rules are made to be broken, then I am the Kurt Angle of regulations or restraining orders. Not only will I break them, I will kick them when they are down and maybe gouge their eyes a little. So let’s say that we are giving guidelines, good ideas, or maybe principles. Yes, I think that I can live with ‘principles’ without going into a Hulk-like berserker rage and smashing something.
So today we are ending the week with the first and oldest principle of relationship health:
Communicate…in a healthy, effective manner that is respectful of your partner’s state of mind and knowledgeable and insightful of all of the life events that have molded you into the person that you are.
You didn’t think that we would stop at saying that you need to communicate, did you? Every person that has gotten past a first kiss knows that communication in a relationship is paramount. But speaking is not enough. What we say and why we say it is more important than the sound waves emitted from our mouths.
Here are a few examples of sentences that, although well communicated, may illicit reactions greater than the stated request:
‘Hey Honey, I’ll be having sex with my girlfriend tonight so don’t wait up.’
‘Stay inside until that guy stops looking in our windows.’
‘You might not want to put your mouth there because I’m flaring up again.’
See what I mean? Sometimes, just saying something is not enough so we have added a few corollaries to the communication principle. First we added ‘healthy and effective’. Since we see marriage as a corporation then contract law apply. One of the basics of contract law is that you can never have a contract that asks one party to break the law. Likewise, you can’t have communication that asks one of the partners to be unhealthy. So healthy communication presupposed that you have your healthy person hat on and so does your partner. If you are feeling particularly crazy at that moment, go take your meds, sit down and wait it out.
The idea of effective communication is pretty self directing. Make sure your partner is getting what you are saying. Therefore, don’t discuss life goals when the other person is covered in baby vomit. I’m a fan of making an appointment to discuss the big issues of life.
Now for the more esoteric parts of the communication principle: respectful of your partner’s state of mind. Whether you have been with your partner for 5 minutes or 50 years, you know something about them. Like me, Lee does not take well to being told what to do. Well, yesterday I told Lee that she SHOULD do something. If you read last week’s stuff, you know that the s-word is bad. The thing is that I was not doing a really bad should. I wasn’t standing over her, with finger waving, and scolding her. It was said in the same vein as ‘it’s probably a good idea’. But I knew better and it slipped out. Of course, she reacted. Is it bad that I said it? Do I need to walk on egg shells around Lee? No. That’s not the point. Being respectful does not mean being fearful but, if you are going to throw a shit bomb then be prepared with the love, the nurturing, the processing, and the shoulder for crying.
Which brings us to the last part: be knowledgeable and insightful of all of the life events that have molded you into the person that you are. If your wife is sounding too much like mom, if hubby is triggering daddy issues, it is imperative that you see that and acknowledge it.
Now I’m not going to say any more on that because that is really what CoupleDumb is all about. Deal with yourself and everything else will come into line.
Lee says: I still owe him a spanking for that ‘shoulding’ but I think he might lose the lesson.