Don’t you just love the AT&T commercials about the mother who wants her family to realize the value of their rollover minutes? I think my favorite part of the whole thing is watching the facial expressions of those around her; her sons, her husband…. Body language says it all, friends.
Which brings me to yesterday’s funny moment. Believe it or not, a lot of them happen in counseling…. Anyway, one of the couples I see in Inner Life Development, was sitting in my office. The three of us are in the midst of discovering how they can best communciate with each other. Even though they have been married awhile, this man and his wife can go days without indepth touch or connection. Some days they don’t even speak to each other.
They never learned how…. How can you do something you never were taught to do, or even saw occur?
You can’t. It’s impossible to give away what we haven’t received…..
Sadly, each of us have areas in our lives where that question could be applied… Each of us must discover our own need for conflict and change. And by change, I mean growth.
The element to lift us from our melee? A healthy response. Our response when we become personally aware of our ignorance; that response is telling in our development of character. It is the key to the Holy-Spirit-provided door to unlock our Personhood. Most especially, our response shows our capacity for relationship; not only with others, but with God as well. How do we respond? Do we become angry? Withdraw? Defend ourselves? Or, do we open our lives to others, ask a question, apply the answer, and continue towards emotional health; then spiritual maturity?
One cannot happen without the other.
Currently, I see four couples; each of whom has developed discontenment with the normal “non-talk” in their day-to-day. Rather, they have chosen to live on a learning curve; bravely stepping into the unknown; learning to speak a new language; to invest themselves; to leap with their eyes open. As such, they are in the 8% of those in our culture who are willing to actively seek healthy change and pursue it.
These couples are learning to bond in their marriages where they have not been vulnerable to anyone else before; ever. And, as they make discoveries, I am gaining fresh understanding as well. As we go, we are creating Learning Steps for the process of bonding. The steps eventually will come in the form of worksheets; then a workbook I hope to make available on a larger scale; “Bonding: How To Do Relationships.” As we go, each of the couples has agreed to let me share parts of their stories as part of the learning process we will make available for others.
Which brings me back to yesterday, (with permission, of course.)
At the end of our session, this precious couple was discussing with me, the week’s realizations. I was explaining the worksheet packet they were taking away as part of their homework for the next week. I said, “I would like you to set aside time to speak with each other for ten minutes each day. This needs to be purposeful time. You are going to share your hopes, your experiences and your fears. You can even talk about what you are learning as you work through the worksheets I have given you. The time you share together has to go deeper than just the facts of the day. Please sit at a table together to talk. Don’t be distracted when you share. Set a timer, if you have to. Here is the rule: You don’t stop communicating until the timer goes off, but if you go past the ten minutes; that’s a good thing.”
The husband looked at me. For a moment, he was quiet. Bear in mind, he is learning the value of communicating and vulnerability. He asked, “If we go over our ten minutes on one day, can we count those minutes on the assignment for the next day?”
After a few seconds of silence, I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it. “No,” I answered. “That doesn’t work! We don’t rollover minutes on communication!”
It opened an entirely new door of learning. Right then.
Which makes me think once again of the AT&T mom — and I wonder … How many couples out there are holding bowls of unused minutes, saving them for later?
After all, leftovers never are quite as good……
(C)2010 DG — awakenedtogrow.com