Whether social work or marriage or motherhood, I’ve never been more mindful of the emotions I’m feeling and why I’m feeling them. But there still seems to be some sort of gap between recognizing them and putting them to words and not letting them negatively affect my interactions with Dan.
(Just don’t read Brené Brown’s books or listen to her TED Talk unless you want to get your mind rocked, friends. We were laughing with tears in our eyes about the ways her interactions with her husband are like mine with Dan.)
I recently became more aware of interactions I’d have with Dan that would leave me feeling so cared for despite being so simple and short. It was pleasant, but I couldn’t figure out what he was doing. I eventually nailed it down: He’s been asking me two questions that are perfectly suited for my sometimes-jumbled-mess-of-being. Here we go.
If you’re prone to disappointment and high or simply not-communicated expectations: What are your expectations for today? (Or this date, this meal, this trip to the mall, this party, this visit to Target… My expectations are apparently endless.)
It works really well when I can examine my expectations and communicate to them. It works even better when he responds to them with agreement or with a challenge that they may be unreasonable. It may work best when I say — and mean — I don’t have any expectations.
If you’re a feeler. You know, an “F” when you take the Myers-Briggs assessment: How are you feeling today? (Or about this recent news, about your grandpa getting sick, about a new job, about an upcoming move.)
This isn’t a question about physical well-being… It’s about emotional well-being and what’s going on inside my head. I sometimes feel like I’m feeling things ten times more deeply than Dan, so sometimes I don’t willingly communicate what I’m feeling because I don’t like how it makes me feel embarrassed or uptight. Or like a burden to him. These are lies, though — lies! — so this question is golden for me. He gives me the opportunity to unload what I may have been feeling and not communicating.
This is really a small snapshot. I use these questions with him, and I use them with friends. I like them.
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