When I read Dare 14 from The Respect Dare this morning again, I saw a number of things that I hadn’t seen in it before. The comments about the husband’s emotional responses, subtle as they were, stood out to me.
What’s really interesting is I’m also currently studying horse communication. I spent about half an hour yesterday reading about ear positions and what they mean. I am continually surprised by the horse I ride – and honestly, she scares me half to death sometimes. The problem is that I become aware of her emotional state when she’s already been frightened for several seconds, which is often too late to gently get her attention redirected, and I have to communicate with her in a way that must seem like I’m shouting to her, and since horses and humans have no way of really “apologizing” to each other, these exchanges damage the trust between us.
If I can “read” her earlier, I can understand sooner, and I won’t have to “shout” – and I also won’t be startled and scared myself, which sets off this awful cycle between rider and horse that can end poorly and even be dangerous. Recent research argues that there are four, not six, universally recognized facial expressions. However, if you add verbal context to the facial expressions, it is easier to consistently get the same meanings from the expressions, regardless of the culture you live in. The point I want to make in today’s dare is that the woman completely missed an opportunity. No one is perfect, and yes, the man could have said something to her during the exchange, maybe even something like, “Hey hon, I’ve got this.” If she didn’t realize how condescending her communication was with that, he could have said, “I’m feeling like you are speaking to me as if I’m a child – can you stop?” Simply stating our feelings and being open to receiving a repair attempt from someone can be HUGE in working through the small moments that create contempt and destroy our marriages, by the way. But how did the wife miss it? She didn’t see the results of her communication on her husband. She was blind to them.
Has that ever been you?
Here’s a tip: One of the healthiest things we can do when someone else is getting stirred up – call attention to it, but in a respectful way.
“I’m sensing that you’re feeling xyz right now, is that right?” “I might be wrong, but you seem like you are getting angry – is that true?” “How are you feeling right now?” This is called “Emotion Coaching” and it is hugely beneficial to do with your husband – and your kids. If they’re able to communicate about how they are feeling with you (and you can’t then argue with them about why their feelings are wrong, btw, you just apologize and help the truth get sorted out. Doing this with your little kids teaches them to express what they feel in a healthy way. Doing this with the more mature people you live with, regardless of their age, helps them process. But you have to know what to look for. And not surprisingly, our friend, Dr. John Gottman, has an awesome book on emotion coaching for parents. The concepts are transferable to literally everyone, also. 🙂 I wish he could help me with my horse. 🙂 But I’m learning. And even though I keep getting it wrong, I’m learning. And I am not giving up – and neither should you. 🙂 And if you are joining us in The Respect Dare journey, know we’re taking one dare a week and blogging through the different elements of it. I hope you’ll join us! Really hope you’ll subscribe and walk with us. 🙂 We spend a lot of time talking about what the Bible says – and it turns out that legitimate research supports it – but you may have noticed that we don’t doubt God, Jesus, or the work He did on the cross here. If you saw the release of Heaven is For Real this weekend, you might be wondering about those thing now. By the way, thank you for the prayers – the first video shoot for Daughters of Sarah went GREAT!! 🙂 We have another one later this week – please keep praying for us! We are also really happy our prayer team is back online. THANK YOU!! Literally the DAY AFTER our small group and many of you prayed for its restoration, the technology issue was solved such that we have them back. 🙂 If you are interested in serving in our ministry in this way (we send out one email a week, sometimes two) please know we’d love to have you! 🙂
Back to this topic today, however, I’m interested in what you’ve been learning! How have you dealt with the emotions of others? What is God doing in helping you interact with those around you when they become emotional? Are you missing cues? How can we pray for you today?
If you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner. Come join the discussion!
Love to you,
PS… 🙂 (I LOVE PS’s!!) If you blog, please join us and feel free to share your blog in the Linky below by linking to a specific post that’s related to our topic today – we’ll pick some to send out to our readers over the weekend each week. You’ll be a Titus 2 woman of influence by commenting, even if you don’t blog!