Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shot down in combined Relief Society/Priesthood

So on the fifth Sunday whenever that occurs in a month, all the male and female adults of the ward get together to be instructed by a member of the Bishopric, who lead the ward. This Sunday our Bishop talked to us about strengthening our marriages, as everyone in our ward is married. He asked us one question about ways in which we strengthen our communication.

I raised my hand and talked about the "I Love It..." game that Cait and I play where we first talk about some of the areas we think the other could improve and things that the other person does that might happen to bug us. And then we spend the rest of the time, which ends up being the majority of the time, by talking about things that we love about each other. We always do it when we are calm with no distractions and haven't been previously angered about anything. It's worked well for us, even though we don't do it as often as we used too. It's gotten to the point, I think, where we can bring up a lot of those things in regular conversation.

After I made this comment, a number of people, three I think, said that they thought that was very dangerous, saying how it could lead to bitterness. They also said that if something was bugging you about your spouse, it was probably just something that you were doing wrong and that you should change rather than saying anything to your spouse.

I think there is definitely some truth to those statements, especially the second, but I've found that sometimes the best way to confront an issue like that, say when Cait used to leave her clothes on the bathroom floor when they were dirty, head on and just discuss it and come to an agreement.

Of course, everyone has their own way of doing things, we were just wondering how everyone else handled these sort of things. Mainly this if for the married people, but it also applies to anyone who has a disagreement with another person that you are close to. So what do you think? What is the best way to communicate things that your spouse does that bothers you?


  1. I think it's a bad idea to criticize your spouse but at the same time I also think that people are afraid of being too nitpicky in marriage. You have to be able to talk about the things that bug you, otherwise it festers and creates resentment in the name of marital harmony.

    As long as you're able to discuss things in a calm and nice way that doesn't make the other person feel like they're being attacked then discuss away. I think you and Cait's method is great.

    I find that if I say something like, "Hey, I've been working really hard on trying to keep the house looking nice lately..." first then following it up with, "so could you please try to make sure that your dishes make it into the dishwasher?" Aaron is more receptive. It's like I'm asking him, as a favor to me, to do something. And that's way better than being TOLD or yelled at about something.

  2. Nathan and I have a similar way of communicating, Tim. Rather than letting all of our emotions and some frustrations simmer, we prefer telling each other how we feel. For instance, I have told Nathan: I need help with the dishes, and I can't stand it when our living room is cluttered. I want help cleaning. And because he loves me, he helps. He has communicated his own feelings and sometimes annoyances with me. It has brought about a mutual understanding. And like you said, we always do this when we are calm. We decided never to discuss deep issues after 10 PM, after reading that piece of advice in the Ensign.

    And I must agree with Kayla and her final paragraph. I ask Nathan to help out as a favor to me. I usually say: Would you mind and always thank him. I don't want him to feel as though he is being ordered around. And for him, it is important that I know if a particular thing is annoying him because it prevents so many other problems down the road.

  3. Well, I enjoyed reading yours and Cait's tip on handling issues in a marital relationship. I hope more people post things so I can try them out! Anything that fosters a positive attitude, showing love constantly, or helps us be patient and tender, I can use, all the time! My hub is my favorite companion, but I hold things in sometimes, or have a tough time showing love when I am in stressed out tunnel vision. Everyone has issues, we just differ in how we cope and resolve them! Any good books or tips? Maybe we should start a marriage and family forum?

  4. Craig and I try to have a couple inventory every week where we do basically the same thing- talk about things that have bothered us (about each other)over the past week, and then talk about all the wonderful things or qualities that the other person has demonstrated through out the week. I see nothing wrong with it. I think that if we never talk about the "needs improvements," we become complacent and less likely to strive to become better people, and a better couple. We make sure that we always say things in a loving way and we do not intend to attack the other person. As long as you both know that you love the other person and that you are there to support and uplift each other there should be no reason to be bitter with one another when difficulties and disagreements arise.

    Although we do have less of a need to do this every week than we use to, I believe that it was a very important exercise at the start of our marriage because it helped us learn to communicate with one another in a constructive way. Rather than stewing over something all week and letting myself become bitter about it, we talked about things on a regular basis and resolved issues quickly.

  5. We're married for eternity. I believe in creating the best eternity possible. If something works for you -- do it!

    We like listening to self-help or marriage help books on CD during long drives. And then we talk about it.

    John Lund a Mormon speaker on marriage encourages 15-minute chats nightly where each person has 7 minutes to talk about what bugs them, etc. That's it.

    Some people are quick to criticize others -- but then never work to strengthen what they got.

  6. We get angry over things? I don't recall that ever.

  7. You have to do what works for you. If what you two are doing works for you without arguments, that that is what you should do. For some people that wouldn't work, but you both seem to be doing very well, so I wouldn't change anything you guys are doing. Communication is one of the most important things in marriage, and one of the most difficult for most people. Keep doing what works for you.

  8. We don't have an official name for it like you do, but we express our frustrations or annoyances in a similar way as you guys do. I have never felt criticized or judged because we always make sure its done in a spirit of love and peace. And I try to keep the attitude that I WANT to hear these things cause I want to continually be getting better, to always be contributing to a peaceful and happy home for us. I think if you and your spouse have built a relationship where you both feel safe enough to hear criticism, then it doesn't build bitterness at all.

  9. If something works for you, then keep it up. If ya`ll can discuss your faults without anger making an appearance, then ya`ll are doing something right. People will always say that what you are doing is bad if it doesn`t work for them. They should keep their opinions to themselves. Bryan and I know how stressful it is to be in school and have a child. I am proud of you guys for the way you work together and how you handle day to day things.