Have you ever treated a perfect stranger better than your man?
Well, we can rationalize this in many ways, such as “I don’t know the stranger enough to be particular about who they are” or “I have to be nice they don’t know me yet.” Either way we spin it, there is something off with the way we treat the people closest to us versus strangers.
Let me explain. When my husband isn’t helping me around the house, I feel comfortable enough to tell him “aren’t you going to help me”, but if it was a friend or acquaintance I would say “please don’t worry about it, I got it.” But he still helps sometimes around the house, to keep it clean and nice, he even go online to sites to find the best bathroom rugs for our home, so it also looks cute.
Why is it that I choose to make that distinction?
It’s odd when you think about it, right? Why do we treat the people closest to us one way and strangers another?
Here is what I discovered…
I have known my husband for over 11 years, and 2 years back if you had asked me if I knew exactly what he was thinking or going to do in certain situations. I would have said “yes”. I mean, there were times and situations where I thought I knew him better than he
However, I started to realize there was a difference between what I thought I knew and reality. Most of the time, I was right about knowing his reaction when it came to situations or people, but when it came to what he thought about me, I was TOTALLY off the mark.
I stumbled upon this one day when I asked him what he loved about me (I know crazy question, but a good one to ask every now and then).
When I asked this question, somehow, I had gotten into a space of being totally open to what he was saying, instead of having my own internal dialogue about what I thought he was going to say.
This was a rare and precious moment. I was actually listening to him. I was listening as if I had just asked a teacher a question, and was eager for her to answer. A was a blank slate to write on.
For the first time in a long time I HEARD what came out of his mouth and believed it. And his answer to my question was WAY different than what I thought he was going say. It blew me away.
In that moment my thoughts whirled into contemplation, and somehow I made the connection between when we first started dating to now.
When we were strangers dating I listened and heard him, after committing to him a button was pressed, and the listening function somehow turned off, and the I know what he is thinking switch turned on.
For example, if a stranger comes to my house, I ask them if they like grape or orange juice because I don’t know. And when they say orange, I wouldn’t say no you like grape. I say okay great orange juice it is. With my husband I would have assumed he wanted grape, without even asking.
Then it dawned on me I need to treat my husband the way I treat strangers and that meant asking questions, listening, responding and believing. This single discovery changed the way I related to him.
My relationship started feeling connected, as he felt heard, he would listen harder to me. It had a ripple effect throughout our relationship,and so I knew I had to share this with you.
Here are the steps to follow to connect like strangers:
1. You adopt this belief, “When it comes to certain situations, I don’t know what he is thinking or feeling.”
2. If you have a question about what he is thinking/feeling ASK him, don’t ASS-ume.
3. When you ask him, LISTEN, and repeat back to him what he just said. This way you will take in what he just said, and any automatic internal dialogue will be stopped in their tracks.
4. Lastly, keep asking questions and keep listening until you can feel and believe what he saying.