Relationships of any kind can be complicated. In-law relationships seem to be one of the most talked about experiences. They’re mentioned in books, on game shows, in advice columns and even on the Russ Parr radio show!
Today’s show dealt with a wife who wasn’t being heard by and receiving support from her husband regarding treatment of his parent(s). The wife asked how to get the husband to understand her side.
Write the following heading on a piece of paper, “What I’d like you to know is…” or “What I want to share with you is…”
Then write down the “facts” (things that are observable & true-example: the family walks through the door and hugs everyone but the wife). Omit the “interpretations” (things we make up or the meaning we give to things-example: family walks in and hugs the wife and the wife “makes up” they only hugged her to look good in front of their son.”
Choose a calmer time before asking the husband to sit and chat.
During the chat, share what was written (read from the paper)and ask how he feels when he reads/hears it.
See where the conversation goes from there.
This was all I could offer in 5 minutes and not knowing the communication abilities of the wife. Here are a few things to consider:
We can’t “get” people to do things. The wife can invite, encourage, or request. “Getting” people to do things often requires manipulation and/or coercion which are fear-based tactics and unhealthy as it can erode one’s sense of free will.
When we share our thoughts and feelings it’s helpful if the environment supports sharing without interruptions or defending (which can be challenging when we feel injured/hurt). There gets to be space for both the wife and husband to share their perspectives. The question to ask ourselves before initiating the conversation is, “Will I be ok with other person not taking action on, or not agreeing with, or not liking or believing what I shared?” There’s no right or wrong answer. Be mindful, if your answer is “no” that might impact your reason for sharing. Unconditional (love) sharing is when you don’t need or require the other person to respond in a certain way or at all.
Be clear about “what” you seek from sharing. The wife wanted her husband to understand her experience and stand for her. Check in and see if there’s more. Asking ourselves, “So that what occurs” is an easy way to explore what maybe under the need to share. For example: “I want you to understand how I feel when they ignore me and say something to them.” So that what occurs? “So that I feel loved and respected by you.”So that what occurs (when you feel loved)? “So that I stop feeling insignificant and devalued by all of you.” This feels like a natural place to stop asking the question and a great place to start a wisdom chat about feeling insignificant and devalued. These feelings may have been present in her experience before getting married (I don’t know this to be true as I haven’t had any direct interaction with the wife). The family may unintentionally be playing the role the wife needs in order to heal or address an unresolved issue or to strengthen a specific area of her life. The Law of Reflection states every relationship (which is everything) mirrors something back to us about ourselves. The wisdom chat would support the wife in exploring the reflections and seeing where she may exhibit the family’s behavior. For example, how might the wife ignore herself-her dreams, feelings, intuition? Playing with these questions can create a shift in how the wife sees and responds to the behavior and attitude of her husband, family, and herself.
Tune in next week when we Get Into It With Me-Pruitt😁🙏🏾