Dare #14 of The Respect Dare
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.
Eyes Wide Open?
Recent research argues that humans have four, not six, universally recognized facial expressions. However, if you consider verbal context 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. 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. 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.
Being able to communicate feelings is a step toward truth and healthy relationships. 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. 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.
By the way, thank you for the prayers – our final preparations for Boot Camp are GREAT!! 🙂 Boot camp is rapidly approaching – September 6-10, so please keep praying for us… OR JOIN US! 🙂
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 have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings, you should totally follow Debbie. And if you want to read a very engaging novel about women who faced real-life dilemmas like these, read Dare to Respect. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as @NinaRoesner. Come join the discussion!
Love to you,
If you want to explore ways of getting your tweens, teens and twenty-somethings to share in the household responsibilities, read With All Due Respect
Women who’ve read Dare to Respect can’t stop reading until they reach the last page!
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What a great post! I really loved how you suggested to ask someone how they’re feeling. That really is so much more respectful than “reading” their expression and making assumptions about what it means. I was so bad at that in the past. Even worse, I used to tell him how he felt and argue with him when he disagreed. (covering face with hands in embarrassment). I can’t tell you how many arguments started this way. Thank you, Nina for following God in writing the Respect Dare and then making an eCourse for those of us that couldn’t do it as a small group!
I’m so blessed in my marriage now. The change in how I communicate with my husband has resulted in a greater closeness. Just last night he thanked me for sharing a concern I was having in a loving and respectful way. He also said he thought my concern was valid and he’s going to be giving that more thought. (I know I have an amazing husband and not all men are going to respond this way, but I haven’t heard of (genuinely) respectful communication and behavior making anything worse, so it’s certainly worth pursuing.)
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