“Almost every day, my wife gets mad at me when I leave for work,” John explained.
“He leaves the mirror spotted when he cleans his toothbrush after brushing his teeth.” His wife, Silvia went on, “I’ve told him a thousand times how mad I get when he does that.”
John and Sylvia were in our offices for a Marriage Intensive. They had fallen out of love because they stopped doing the things to keep love alive, like dating and being kind to one another. They were in a negative pattern of interacting that was causing a great amount of pain in each of their hearts.
It’s Just a Little Toothbrush Splatter, Isn’t It?
You might be thinking that Sylvia has some issues. Perhaps she is a little OCD or at least a perfectionist and extra critical. After all, what is the big deal with a little toothbrush over spray dirtying up a small portion of the large mirror in their bathroom?
Turns out, quite a bit. In answering our questions, we helped Sylvia tell why it was so important to her.
You see, Sylvia grew up in a family that frequently moved. Her mother worked in a blue collar job with a crew that traveled. When she came home at the end of her shift, she was so very tired. They never had a nice home. And it was almost never clean.
As a young girl, she was amazed the few times she was invited to friends homes at how clean they were. She would never invite friends over because of how embarrassing it would be for her. She promised herself that if she ever had a nice home in the future, she would it would always be spotless.
Telling Your Spouse Why It Is So Important
During our session, we helped Sylvia tell John for the first time how important it was to her, and more importantly, why it was important to her. She used her Speaking Truth skills and the Complaint Formula to tell him. She said:
When I see toothpaste splatter on the mirror in the morning after you have gone to work…
I feel like you don’t care about taking care of our home and you don’t care about things that are important to me. It’s like you don’t love me enough to take care of something that I think is important…
I want a home that is well taken care of. I want our house to be a place our children fell comfortable bringing their friends over to play. My request is that you wipe the mirror off after getting ready for work every morning.
John’s response: “I never knew. I’m so sorry. I’ll do my best to do that every day.”
Helping Your Spouse Tell Their Story
- Calm yourself and pray that your heart will be tender and open to understanding why your spouse is hurt, sad, scared or angry about the specific problem.
- Ask for a Conversation. Make a request of your spouse when they are not upset to discuss the issue.
- Follow the Hard Conversation Rules. Make sure you set yourself up for success by speaking in a way that helps your spouse tell their story.
- Use Your Hearing Truth Skills. Use full body attention and make sure your spouse is understanding that you are getting what she is saying by reflecting what she is saying.
- Find Temporary Solution. Compromise to help find a solution you will use over the next 30 to 120 days going forward.
What Do You Have To Say?
We always love to hear from our readers. What success have you had when your spouse seems to get upset over little things? What would you add to our steps to to help your spouse tell their story? If you have tried this approach, tell us how it went!
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.