“I believe that words are strong,
that they can overwhelm what we fear
when fear seems more awful than life is good.”
A few months ago I polled followers and friends on IG asking what part of "the stuff I share" most interested them. I was surprised but encouraged that the overwhelming response was "Marriage" and "Parenting" topics! I've gradually decided to share the resources and topics that have most shaped and encouraged our vision for and daily life of marriage. We love to learn and I am almost constantly little tid-bits here or there that help strengthen us. Whether you're single, happily married, or 'unhappily' married, I believe these principals are good, true, and beautiful and I pray even one of them can help increase your joy and love. If you're just joining me now, here are all previous Marriage Resource Posts for easy navigating:
1. The Big Three ("This Is Us," anyone?)
2. Personality Tests
3. Improving Communication
4. Date Night vs. Connection
These are a bit "random" but all have been extremely valuable for us in learning how to (*famous topic for marriage*) communicate well together! All of these prompted little light bulbs to flicker on for on or both of us at one point, and since then we reference concepts in these resources frequently! May they be of benefit to you too.
Scout vs. Soldier Mindset / Article by Julia Galef
“Scout Mindset: the drive not to make one idea win or another lose, but to see what’s there as honestly and accurately as you can even if it’s not pretty, convenient or pleasant.
The scout’s job is not to attack or defend; it’s to understand. The scout is the one going out, mapping the terrain, identifying potential obstacles. Above all, the scout wants to know what’s really out there as accurately as possible."
Obviously, as the aforementioned Devil's Advocate I am, I love this. BUT part of what I love about this is the challenge for me ("not just try to win"). Caleb loves it for the empowerment it gives to seeking and seeing the truth, not just what is "happy" or "what we wish were true." Being scouts for each other, and the situations that cross our life, has been one of the most tricky but beautiful parts of our relationship in my opinion. Sometimes the truth is uuuuugggly, but sharing it, tackling it, and moving into freedom with it is marvelous. And also! Sometimes the truth is dazzling, but we may have missed it without each other's help!
"Scouts also have different values. They’re more likely to say they think it’s virtuous to test their own beliefs, and they’re less likely to say that someone who changes her mind seems weak. And, above all, scouts are grounded, which means their self-worth as a person isn’t tied to how right or wrong they are about any particular topic. For example, they can believe that capital punishment works and if studies come out that show it doesn’t, they can say, 'Looks like I might be wrong. Doesn’t mean I’m bad or stupid.'"
"Motivated Reasoning" - "When the referee judges your team has committed a foul, for example, you’re probably highly motivated to find reasons why he’s wrong. But if he judges that the other team committed a foul — that’s a good call."
"What’s most scary to me about motivated reasoning or soldier mindset is just how unconscious it is. We can think we’re being objective and fair-minded and still wind up ruining [things]."
Other Favorite "Communication" Resources:
I Grew Up In Westboro Baptist. Here's Why I Left (The Importance of Difficult Conversations and How To Have Them) / TedTalk by Megan Phelps-Roper
Don’t assume bad intent. Assuming ill motives almost instantly cuts us off from understanding why someone does and believes as they do.
Ask questions. When engage people across ideological divides asking questions helps us map disconnect from our differing points of view. That’s important because we can’t present effective arguments if we don’t understand where the other side is actually coming from. And because it gives them an opportunity to point out flaws in our positions. But asking questions serves another purpose: it signals to someone they’re being heard.
Stay Calm. I used to think my rightness justified my rudeness. My friends didn’t do away with their beliefs or principals, only their scorn.
Make the argument. This might seem obvious, but one side effect of having strong beliefs is that we sometimes assume that the value of our position is or should be obvious and self-evident. That we shouldn’t have to defend our positions, because they are so clearly good and right so if someone doesn’t get it, that’s their problem! Not my job to educate them! If we want change, we have to make the case for it.
"Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else. Distrust is what I have shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you."
Favorite teaching on trust, ever. It's important to remember that trust is not love. Love is unconditional, but trust is not... trust is earned and based on conditions. Listening to this helped me have a bigger, clear view of what it means to trust God. It also encouraged me because there are parts of this I do very well, but it also stung a little because there are points in this I need to work on. But what helpful, true words here and awfully meaningful thing to share the most-and-best with Caleb.
B - Boundaries: I trust you if you're clear about your boundaries, and you hold them, and you're clear about my boundaries and you respect them.
R - Reliability: I can only trust you if you do what you say you're going to... and not only once.
A - Accountability: I can only trust you if when you make a mistake you are willing to own it, apologize for it, and make amends. AND I can only trust you if when I make a mistake I am allowed to own it, apologize for it, and make amends.
V - Vault: What I share with you you will hold in confidence, what you share with me I will hold in confidence, AND what others share with you you don't share with me. ("A lot of times we share things that are not ours to share as a way to hotwire connection with a friend. Our closeness is built on talking badly about other people. You know what I call that? Common Enemy Intimacy.")
I - Integrity: It's choosing courage over comfort, choosing what's right over what's fun, fast or easy, and choosing your values over professing your values.
N - Non-Judgement: I can fall apart, struggle, and ask for help, without being judged by you. And you can fall apart, struggle, and ask for help without being judged by me.
G - Generosity: You can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviors... and then check in with me. So if I screw up, say something, forget something you will make a generous assumption."
The Art of Asking / TedTalk by Amanda Palmer (the book too!)
Be forewarned: Amanda is a wild (WILD) spirit. Fascinating person to learn about and learn from, agree with and disagree with. But how she was able to breakdown the power of asking for help has been life-changing for me. And one of the central anchors in our marriage is to ask for what you want or need, don't assume, "just do it yourself!" or make the other guess. Asking 'risks' disappointment, a "no," and feel ashamed. But I'm a believer in the importance of asking directly, the trust it builds, and connection opportunity it provides.
"By asking, I'd connected with them. And when you connect, people want to help you."
"Asking expresses your trust."
"When you openly, radically trust people, they become your allies, your family. Sometimes people will prove themselves untrustworthy. When that happens the correct response is not '****! I knew I couldn't trust anyone!' The correct response is 'Eh, some people just suck. Moving right along.'"
Nueroscience and Happiness / article by Eric Barker
Just read it!
The purpose is joy, closeness, and faithfulness. I pray somewhere in here even one line or thought can contribute to yours! To see more, click here: Favorite Marriage Resources.