Deferring through Sharing Your Wishes
Give preference to one another in honor. Romans 12:10, NASB
Teresa and I have discovered that it's often difficult for couples to discuss areas of needed growth in their marriage. Too often, couples are detoured by defensiveness, blame, and complaint. Bob and Sherri were one of those couples.
We counseled with Bob and Sherri to help them learn a few tips in how to defer to one another's wishes. First, we asked them to prepare a "list of thanks." This is a list of things they were thankful for in their marriage and in one another. After completing their respective lists, they were to share them with one another. This time of sharing helped reassure both Bob and Sherri that each was pleased with the marriage and that each saw good things in their spouse.
Next, we asked Bob and Sherri to prepare a "list of wishes.” This list was to include specific, positive statements about what they might like to see changed or different in their marriage. Bob included this statement, "I'm hoping you might become more comfortable initiating affection:' Sherri stated this wish, "I wish we could be cautious about criticizing one another in front of other people, especially the kids."
Bob and Sherri then shared their lists of wishes with one another. This helped them avoid the destructive cycle of having expectations of each other that they didn't share, then becoming hurt and angry when expectations weren't met. Communicating their wishes helped Bob and Sherri express specific needs to each other, not just negative generalities. It also helped them to avoid saying hurtful, negative words to one another, but instead to formulate a positive approach to communicating their wishes.
Take time to make your own "thanks" and "wish" lists.
What would your lists of thanks and wishes for your marriage and spouse include?
Thank You, Father, for the strength to look beyond myself and give to this special one You've blessed me with.