In school the three most basic subjects taught are; reading, writing and arithmetic. How can we transfer these basic educational principles into our marriages?
This article will discuss the skill of reading.
Reading- what is reading? And how can we apply this to marriage?
The importance of providing space in a relationship for the other person to be read, heard and understood can be illustrated through a story I once heard about the travels of a great teacher. This master teacher visited a study hall in one of the towns he frequented. As he walked into the study hall he commented to his students accompanying him that he could not enter the hall because there was no room. The students were puzzled by this statement as there was plenty of room to enter. What the scholar was pointing out was that the people learning in there were so concerned with their own opinions that they made no room for anyone else to be heard.
In marriage we can get so caught up in our own needs, our right to express ourselves, and the desire for the ‘other’ to, in a sense, read what we write, that we actually leave no space for our partner to share and be heard. If we truly want to hear and understand the needs and feelings of our spouse, we must allow space for them to express themselves in our relationship.
Even when we give the other the space that is needed to be heard, we may still need to put on a different pair of ‘glasses’ in order to read what they are really saying. By this I mean, many people read a book so that the concluding chapter ends the way they want it to. If it doesn’t, they find reasons why the book was not written well, or the author did not do enough research in order to justify the faulty ending. So too when a spouse expresses themselves to us, we often want to hear what we need to hear rather than what they are really saying. And if what they say does not sit well with us, we jump into blame mode, “they didn’t use the right words” or “they weren’t clear enough in expressing themselves”. It is times like this that we must take out our reading glasses and attempt to see the situation through our spouses eyes and not only our own. Using theses glasses, we can reveal that there is actually more than one way to view a situation. Just because the chapter did not end the way we predicted, doesn’t mean it is a bad book. It means that I had an experience that allowed me to broaden my understanding, to accept that things doesn’t always go my way. So too it is with one’s spouse- It’s not only about the way they express themselves, but it’s also about the effort we put into understanding them.
Writing - Why is so much emphasis put on learning how to write? Writing is the key to expressing one’s self, and expressing oneself is key to any relationship.
One of the major differences between speaking and writing is that there is more of a process and distance between what I think and write than what I think and say.