Thursday, January 3, 2008

Helpful Hint for a Happy Home

Actually, it's a hint for marriages, but I couldn't pass up all that alliteration. ;-)

My husband and I are well matched and love each other deeply, but once in a great while we have a big disagreement. Or a misunderstanding. Or one of hurts the other's feelings. One or both of us can be too angry or sad or confused to talk about and resolve the issue. That's when our secret weapon is unleashed: letters!

We've only needed letters a few times in 21 years, but they can be a big help. I can write down why I'm mad or sad or confused. I can write without attacking him. I can organize my thoughts and articulate what I see as the issue--sometimes I even understand my point of view better after thinking it through. I have a chance to explain myself. This process is especially helpful for me because I don't think well "on my feet". During an intense discussion I'm likely to get off track or forget a point or miss something important he's trying to say.

The recipient of letter #1 then has time to respond thoughtfully. Meanwhile we can function on a superficial level and remain cordial. The intensity is under the surface, which I think is good. We pray for each other and our relationship. Letters go back and forth as needed, until we're ready to talk in real time.

As I said, we've only used letters a few times. And those times are not fun to go through. If we must write rather than speak, something very upsetting is going on in our relationship. But I think we've resolved issues better and more quickly by taking some of the passion out of the discussion.

So there's my advice; take it or leave it. :-) I'm praying for all our marriages tonight. God bless you.

1 comment:

Alli R said...

Hi Barb, it's Allison. After writing out a long response to your post it was erased when I went to set up an account :-(. I'm still very new to using the computer and often find my work suddnly "gone". I'm still very much a luddite at heart but am hoping to be a convert to the tech world.
Anyway, I'll keep theis much shorter as I'm a lousy typist. Doug and I usually use letter to mark some especially loving thoughts (and have been re-read in times of conflict). It just doesn't seem enough to say things sometimes. But next time my "poison tongue" emerges I'll give a letter a try too.
Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts online. I miss you!