Push It My Way

ThinkstockPhotos-465922325Mark says: Jill and I were helping some friends sort through a marriage challenge the other day.  He admittedly can be a bit spacey when driving. He’ll be driving he and his wife to the store, but because his mind is on other things, he’ll end up missing turns and be absentmindedly heading to their church instead. At some point she will pipe up and ask where he’s going.

Jill says: Sometimes he’s just driving a different way than he usually does and sometimes his mind is on other things and they are not going to end up in the right place if she doesn’t say something.

Mark says: The problem is, she never knows which situation she’s dealing with: an in-tune husband making a strategic decision to drive a certain way to their destination or a distracted husband with a lot on his mind who is not paying attention to where he is going.

Jill says: If she speaks up and he’s in-tune with where he’s going, she’s accused of being a “back seat driver.” If she doesn’t speak up and he’s not paying attention, who knows where they’ll end up.  She’s stuck trying to figure out when to say something or pulling information from him. Honestly, she can’t win either way.

Mark says: I wish I could say that we don’t understand this situation, but unfortunately, we can. Sometimes I’m the spacey guy and sometimes I’m the strategic guy. Jill just never knows which one she’s with.

Jill says: Mark, however, started doing something a couple of months ago that was a complete game-changer. Instead of me pulling information from him, he started pushing information to me.  When we would get in the car and to drive somewhere, he started telling me his plan, “I’m going to take GE road up to Main Street to try and miss some of the Veteran’s Parkway traffic.”

Mark says: Letting Jill in on my thought process did several things:

1) It helped her to trust me.
2) It provided natural accountability when I stated what I planned to do.
3) It kept frustration from happening.
4) It communicated value to Jill.

Jill says: CAN I JUST TELL YOU WHAT A GIFT THIS IS TO ME?

Mark says: I’ve started to notice Jill doing the same thing in other parts of our life. For instance, instead of getting to the end of the day and wondering when she’ll be home, what’s for dinner, and when it will be ready, I’ve noticed that she’s pushing information my way. I might get a text that says, “Hey, I’ve got chili in the crock pot and I’m planning on being home by 5. Eat at 5:30?”

Jill says: I tend to be an internal processor which required Mark to pull information from me. I’m starting to pay attention to what’s going on inside my head and push information his way more intentionally like, “This Saturday, I’m thinking about taking a couple of hours to organize the attic and identify things up there that need to go in our garage sale next month. Do you think you could help me?”

Mark says: CAN I JUST TELL YOU WHAT A GIFT THIS IS TO ME?

Jill says: When I push information to Mark,

1) It communicates value to him.
2) It helps him to plan his time.
3) It let’s him in on what I’m thinking.
4) It keeps conflict at bay.

Mark says: When you push information, the sentences tend to start in certain ways, such as:

I’ve been thinking about…
Just so you know…
I want to let you know…
I’m planning…
I already…
FYI…

What about you? Where could you head off conflict in your marriage by pushing information to your spouse?  

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