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“Finish” the Book Review

I don’t really like starting new things. New is scary.

It’s unknown and uncertain. Taking steps to begin often fills me with anxiety. To be honest just switching the furniture around in the living room makes me feel anxious. But my wife does it anyway.

We all start new things.

I’ve start a workout routine, or diet plan. I have started new jobs. Most recently I started this blog.

Usually I do a pretty good job working on these new aspects of my life for a while. The excitement of working towards being in better shape or a more stable financial situation keep me motivated to push forward.

Then it happens. I mess up. I miss a day running and that day turns into two, then three and before I know what has happened I have not run in several months.

It happened with a blog I maintained a few years back. I began missing days and then I felt like some sort of fraud when I would begin again. I listened to the voice which kept creeping in telling me real bloggers don’t miss days.

So I decided to just quit. If I can’t do something perfectly then there’s no point in going on right?

Jon Acuff, writer and social media guru would disagree. In fact he disagrees so strongly he wrote a book about it.

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Finish, the book.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done was written after Jon Acuff and a team did research to find out what kept people from reaching their goals. He dives into his discoveries and uses humor and facts to help his reader keep from falling to the traps which have hindered most people.

It was refreshing (and a bit sad) to read so many people have found themselves in the same boat as I have so many times. It is encouraging to know that I do not have to keep sailing away in that boat.

The reader learns perfectionism is the number one enemy of reaching goals we set for ourselves. Perfectionism creeps around spreading lies and uses sneaky tactics to keep us from pressing forward.

Missed a day of working out? Guess you aren’t cut out to be a runner.

Oh I see you have misspelled a word in this three page essay. A real writer never misspells anything.

Only 2 people have donated to your Patreon? What a failure. Bail ship (There are a lot of nautical references in these waters).

Ive tried reading business books before. Some have grabbed my attention, but the vast majority are hard to wade through. The way Jon mixes in humor makes this an incredibly easy read. It flows and feels like you are having a conversation with a friend.

I love being able to laugh along as I’m learning some incredible truths which will help me finish more of my goals.

I’m already putting the book into practice.

Already this summer I reached a goal of mine because of the help of Jon Acuff and the principles from Finish. I had a goal to write 34,000 words in 8 weeks. I reached and surpassed that goal. Had I not been implementing the things I was learning in this book I would have given up so many times (the first time being only 3 days into the challenge).

The word challenge turned into writing a whole book! I completed something I had only dreamed of doing before!

Of you have ever set a goal for yourself and found that you have come up short or quit, do yourself a favor and buy this book! I promise you it will help you reach more of your goals and help you deal with less regret from never trying to press forward.

This is the most helpful book I have read in quite a while (except for the Bible of course).

As they used to say on reading rainbow, “Don’t just take my word for it.”

Whats a goal you started but never finished? What kept you from the finish line?

Choose to be Better

There has been a lot of devestating news making headlines recently. Harvey and Irma have hit and left their terrible mark in the south. Those two storms dominated much of my feeds as of lately.

As they should. They were terrible storms and so many people are still feeling the hurt of them.

There was another story I happened to just hear in passing though and it broke my heart.

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There was a student in a high school in Washington who came in with a gun and killed one classmate and injured three others.

Yet another school shooting.

The child (he is only 15) says he did what he did because he was tired of being bullied and wanted to teach the school a lesson.

What the kid did was not okay. He took the life of another. There is a family out there grieving a boy they will never get to see grow up.

That’s heartbreaking.

That being said, the actions against the kid are also not okay. I’m not sure what actions or words were used but it was harsh enough for this boy to bring two guns to school in order to do some, “teaching.”

Rise up

We, as a people, need to be better than this. We need to be better than name calling and violence.

Often we aren’t though. We chastise those with whom we do not agree. We belittle the opinions of others with no reguard for how our words are packaged.

We cry out that bullying is not okay, but with those same lips we tear apart political figures, athletes, movie stars, and presidential children. We use the excuse, “well if they can’t handle it then they should get out of the spotlight.” It’s like saying that somehow makes us dehumanizing another person okay.

It’s not.

All it does is leave an example for the more impressionable people (children) to follow. Kids often do not make the same distinctions that we do. They see us acting one way towards a person and learn it may be alright to act that way towards everyone.

Christmas Trees Are Off Limits

In our home we have a strict rule about the Christmas tree. It’s off limits. After it is up and decorated there is no touching,

One reason we did this was because we knew we would be going to other people’s houses (people without small children) who may put breakable ornaments toward the bottom of their trees (how silly). We did not want our kids to be used to touching the tree and have this result in breaking the ornaments of someone else.

We heard the argument, “oh well they can touch MY tree. I won’t be mean.” But my wife and I stood our ground knowing our two year old boy would not make the distinction between one persons tree and another’s. “If I can touch this one, I can touch them all.” It was not a battle we wanted to fight.

They are watching

Kids are learning from us. Which means we need to be better. I understand that being an adult is scary and many of us have come to realize that just because we have turned a certain age does not me pan we now have the answers of life. Somewhere along the way we were convinced this would happen but it never does.

Just because many days I don’t feel, “grown up,” does not give me the excuse to not act it.

We need to be treating other people with respect. Stop picking on people. Don’t call them names.

Just because you disagree with someone’s opinion does not make them less than human and we need to stop acting like it does.

When we do, when we believe someone is less than human, bad things follow, and people die.

It starts with adults, and trickles all the way down. It is your responsibility to be a light to the following generation whether you want to be or not.

It is your responsibility to show them the best humanity has to offer whether you have kids or not.

Make the choice to treat others with respect.

Don’t we have enough to worry about with Mother Nature trying to kill us? We don’t need to be turning on each other.

Stop Settling for Lies

Every single day people share a whole slew of different things on the internet.

News Articles

Family Photos

Cat Videos (Do people still share those?)

An Annoying Amount of Person Blog Posts (I’m not even sorry)

People used to have to travel to locations of trade or commerce in order to be at the center of idea exchanges. Port towns were areas where people from all over would come together to not just exchange goods but ideas as well.

Our social media accounts and connections make a great way to share content with each other without even having to get off our couches. It’s friendly and fun. I am able to find out about people from all around the world because of the shares I see.

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Triggered

There are some posts which bother me though. I’m not talking about the posts where people share about their super special and gifted pet.

I don’t even mean the click bait posts where I have the sudden need to find out what my favorite color says about me.

Not even those, although those posts are up there on the list.

The posts I’m discussing are the posts full of a blatant misrepresentation of the truth, a lie, if you will.

Real Life Example

The other day I saw a picture shared of an area recently hit by a hurricane. In the foreground of this picture we see President Trump, blazing that bright red hat and sassy smirk, wading through the water as he carries two helpless kittens to safely.

Aw, what a touching image.

Except it isn’t. The picture was photoshopped. There was a real man carrying kittens to safely recently, but it was not our president.

In a world where it is often difficult to convince anyone of any truth, posts like these just muddy the water. When we take part in spreading the lie it begins to chip away at our reliabilty.

I saw a post once daring the reader to share in support of “these brave men and women who have served our country.”

What a great idea! We should honor those who serve.

Except the image was still from a humorous movie which was set during a war!

It fills me with such anger to know there are people out there intentionally compiling pictures and articles to deliberately mislead others.

The truth should matter but we have fallen to the lie that it doesn’t. We’ve given in to the idea that whatever is true to me is true.

For instance on the fake image of the president carrying the kittens I pointed out that it was a fake. Instead of responding with, “Wow, I didn’t realize I was sharing a lie, I should probably remove this image,” the response was, “I figured it wasn’t also but good one though.”

What?

A good one? The lie is good? Sharing a falsified picture is good?

No it isn’t. It is a lie. You are participating in spreading a lie.

You know what would be good? Sharing a picture of the President doing something he actually has done. Or even giving credit to the man who was actually carrying the kittens to safety.

Share an image of men and women in the armed forces who have actually served to share support of them.

Be an Advocate of Truth

Even when a lie is shared with good intentions, it is still a lie. We need to stop settling for the lies which are thrust in our direction.

Call them out. Take a stand for the truth. The truth does exist. It really is out there.

Participate in the truth. Investigate.

Many times all it takes is a simple Google search and you can find a reliable source.

Continueing the lie is lazy. Don’t be lazy.

Dont just share information or pictures because it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. Share to participate in the spreading of the truth.

Truth can be funny, emotional, and it can incite anger. Truth is a wonderful motivator and freeing to take part in.

Don’t cheapen your life or the lives of others by settling for anything less than the truth.

A Walk in the Garden

Life is great.

Life. What a fantastic word! It rolls off the tongue (which is in itself a fantastic sensation. Oh, sensation. Feel those S’s slip over the tongue and through the teeth.

Ssssssenssssssation.

Splindid!

This is all brand new. I’m brand new. I’m…what did He call me?

Adam! I’m Adam.

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I cannot believe I am the first to be experiencing (oh more   S’s! Wait, maybe it only sounds and feels as an S does. Maybe it’s a different letter. I’ll figure it out later.) all of this.

The sky. Oh, the sky.

So deep. It fills me with such joy I want to leap!

(Rhymes! Wow what a word adventure I’m having.)

If I could I would leap above the trees into that beautiful sky and swim above the earth. Perhaps one day I will be able to fly up there and take in the sights from above.

For now though, I’m earth bound.

Every step is a new adventure. Moss under my feel is cool and soft. It’s a comfort to me. I enjoy standing on the moss in the shade of my favorite tree. I dig in my heals and wiggle my toes into it.

Then there are leaves. Most are still in the trees, giant, green trees, towering high into the skyline. Some leaves fall however and feel simply delightful under foot.

The older ones tend to crunch, splintering across the skin on the bottom of my feet as I make my way forward. The fresh leaves are soft though and if I pay close attention I can feel even the veins of the leaves in the low arches of my feet.

Have I mentioned the wind? There is hardly a sensation comparable. Always a gentle breeze blowing through the garden.

It rustles the trees. The smaller ones shake greatly. The mightier trees gently sway, rocking back and forth. The leaves rustle and wake as the great plants dance in the breeze.

It encompasses my body. My hair is tossed this way and that. The breeze brings smells from far off straight to my nose.

I can smell the sweet aroma of a field of flowers. It is a swirl of scents which all pair perfectly with each other.

I also smell my friends, the animals. They each have a distinct smell and I can sense where they are in relation to my position.

Closing my eyes I stand there in the clearing and let the sun warm my face as the wind greats me with the smells of the world.

The air is always clear which allows sounds to travel miles upon miles. Howls, chirps, and squeals are always present and it makes me feel at home.

Home. What a comfort to be home.

Yet, there is something missing. I’ve never brought it up to Him because I don’t want to seem ungrateful. This world He has made is perfect.

I just wish, I wish…

I want someone to share in all these experiences. I can’t believe I allow myself to even think this way.

Each animal has its wonders. I enjoy sharing in different parts of the world with each of them. But none of them are really like me.

And He is great. I literally get to be in His presence and it is absolutely perfect.

I’m not sure why I’m left feeling in want, yet here I am, wishing for one more thing. I desire a companion, one who is like me.

Someone to talk with, someone to walk through the fields and forest with. I want to laugh with someone and share in the wonders of S’s!

In my beautiful and perfect existence, I’d say that is my only desire left unfulfilled. It’s alright though. I’ll be fine…*yawn*…without it.

I think I’ll head on…*yawn*…over to see what the lions are down.

*YAWN*

Goodness, it’s he middle of the day. Why am I so tired? Maybe I’ll just lay here in this cool, soft moss and rest awhile.

I’m sure…I’ll feel…better when I…wake….

 

I hope you enjoyed another fun fiction Friday! Feel free to like and share!

Parenting Together

I have four sons all age seven and under. Last weekend I was left alone with them.

You read that correctly. My wife left first thing on Saturday morning and did not return until Sunday evening.

(She went to a wedding in Indiana. She didn’t just get fed up with us all…at least, that’s what she told us.)

Before you go feeling sorry for me or the kids, let me remind you of something:

I Am Their Father.

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I am no stranger to feeding children, bathing them, or playing with them. I know the basic human needs: food, water, shelter, and love. Lucky for these hoodlums of mine, I am capable of giving all of these.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided. I changed 5 poopy diapers on Saturday morning. They had drinks throughout the day. Naps were taken. We had a whole lot of fun. And everyone fell asleep (eventually) Saturday night.

On Sunday morning they were all bathed and clothed and we got to church 20 minutes before service started. Achievement unlocked.

Each Person Parents Differently

It is important to communicate with your spouse about the way the two of you will parent your children. The techniques and principles should align pretty tightly on what you would consider, “the big stuff.”

There’s a whole lot in the middle which can vary quite a bit. Your spouse may decide to parent a little differently but it isn’t putting the child in danger, physically or emotionally. It may be best to let those situations slide.

My wife and I have an understanding. We understand each of us takes a slightly different approach to parenting in certain situations.

When I am not around I know she may choose to discipline or reward in a different way than I do, and vice versa. We have chosen to be okay with this truth.

So when my wife needs to leave for a few hours, or even a weekend, she can feel free to do that, knowing although I may approach the weekend with out kids differently than she would, they are going to remain safe in my care.

Accidents Happen

I’ve seen a parent jump down the others throat because a child got hurt while one was away. “This would have never happened if I had been here!”

Which may or may not be true. We had to take one of our kids to the clinic because he shoved about six corn kernels in his ear and we couldn’t get them out. When did it happen? While my wife and I were sitting at the dinner table with him!

We can’t even blame it on being distracted by the tv (there isn’t one in the kitchen) or by our phones (we don’t have them out at the table).

Sometimes kids do crazy things and even the best of parents miss stopping bad from happening.

Extend Grace

Forgive the blunders of your spouse when it comes to parenting, because a mistake of yours is right around the corner.

Choose to let go in the small areas and trust each other.

The two of you are in this journey together so it’s best to be encouraging and uplifting.

And offer to watch the kids. If one parent is at home with the kids most of the time, and that parent isn’t you, offer to give your spouse a break. Whether that’s for a couple hours of needed quiet time or a weekend away.

If you are the parent alone with the kids most often, trust your spouse to provide care.

Plus, it helps grow appreciation for the one who usually does most of the heavy lifting.

“Wow, I understand why our kids being alive is such a victory some days. Great job!” Simple phrases like that can be a great encouragement to you both.

So work together and encourage each other in this wild ride of parenting. Even more, believe in each other that you are both wonderfully capable.

Then show and over show appreciation for what each of you does, because parenting is hard you guys.

Always the Student

“So what got a young man like yourself into pest control?”

This is a question I receive on a regular basis. I’ve tried to pin down why so many people are interested in what brought me to the line of work.

I believe it is partly because I look much younger than I actually am. No one believes my 30th birthday is now 6 months away. So they feel I’m a bit young to find myself in this work.

I also like to believe it’s because they feel I’m far too strapping of a young man to be involved in such dirty, disgusting work. Although, that’s just speculation.

Almost always I reply the same way, “Pest control is never a line of work I thought I would be in, but it’s interesting. I’m always learning something new, and that makes it fun.”

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Forever a Student

There have been very few times in my life where I have not enjoyed learning new things. I was that kid who enjoyed school, not for the social aspect (I’m super awkward in person) but because of the knowledge I could gain.

I have been out of a classroom setting for learning for seven years now and I miss it. But there are so many other ways of learning, and there’s so much out there to learn, even if it is not in  a classroom.

Being in pest control for two and a half years now, I know more about bugs and rodents than I ever thought there was to know. Yet, there’s so much more to know about them which would make me more effective at my job. So I continue to ask questions, and investigate so I will know more for next time.

As I begin this journey of writing and marketing there’s so much information out there available.

I would be a fool to not spend time learning from those who have paved the path before me.

Do Not Settle

No matter the topic, no matter how much of an expert you feel you are on a topic, never become so full of yourself that you think there’s nothing left to learn.

If it’s for a job, there’s always more knowledge you can gain in order to apply it so you can be more effective. It may help you move up the ladder if that’s your goal, or out the door to another opportunity.

Artists need to keep learning so their craft can evolve and grow over time. This requires, “homework,” or another word for it, practice. Practicing a skill is one way to lear pn it better and will grow your knowledge on what it takes to be the best.

Politics, faith, and hobbies are all areas which require a continual growth of knowledge.

Learning Can Be Fun

As I mentioned, I always enjoyed a classroom style of learning but I understand not everyone does.

Find a topic which interests you and find a way to learn it best. It could be reading, audiobooks, an apprenticeship, or any number of different avenues.

The route you choose isn’t as important as continuing the journey.

Don’t stop learning.

Be cool. Stay in school….or something like that.

All About Water

It has happened to me more times than I care to admit.

I’ve been dehydrated. I’m not talking,”feeling a little parched.” I mean my brain has gone foggy and the world around me starts spinning at a rate I can actually feel.

I’ll be the first one to say, it was stupid.

I have never been stranded alone in the desert with no access to water. There has not been a time in my life when I have lived in an area where water is scarce.

Zero. That’s how many reasons there are for me to have ever been that dehyrated.

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Busyness

When it happened I told myself I was too busy to slow down. I have a certain number of stops to complete each day, sometimes more are added and it can make for a very busy day.

So in the past I would cut corners. Some days I would go without eating lunch. I wouldn’t stop to get anything to drink.

It is not like you cannot feel the effects of dehydration coming on; but I would ignore them so I could get work done.

Stupid.

Take Care Of Yourself

There are times when it is understandable you may feel selfish to think about yourself.

Keeping hydrated is not one of those times. If we do not take the best care of our bodies that we can, they will fail us and then we won’t be able to do any of the things we used as excuses to not take care of ourselves.

I would not be able to continue working if I suffered some medical emergency because of extreme dehydration.

Our Bodies Need Water

It isn’t an unnecessary luxury. We actually need it to survive.

Depending on the situation a person can die without water in a week, or if the conditions are hazardous, in less than a day.

This is no exaggeration, we actually need water, you know, to live.

All Liquids Are Not Created Equal

Stop saying you don’t need to drink water because you drink 50 energy drinks, or sodas, or cups of coffee.

Do not even replace your water intake with sports drinks.

Water. We need water.

Benefits of water

ENERGY- our bodies are made of mostly water. When we reduce those levels everything has to work harder to function better, which can lead to fatigue.

SURVIVAL- See above. You need it to live. No joke.

METABOLISM- Drinking can aide in weight loss. It helps fill your stomach which means you have less desire to fill it with other junk. Between that and the increased metabolism, hello weight loss.

LESS ACHES AND PAINS- Dehydration can lead to headaches, cramps, and strains muscles. When all we have to do is drink water to reduce those issues, it’s ridiculous to think we wouldn’t.

Be Aware

Just like the amount of time it would take to die from dehydration changes based on the conditions you are living in or working, the amount you should be drinking also varies.

This is me pleading with you. Make sure to be drinking plenty of water. On days I work and then run/workout I have to drink 1.5-2 gallons of water that day to keep properly hydrated.

When im just working on a mild day, usually around a gallon is plenty.

Just be aware of of what you have been doing throughout the day and drink water accordingly. It even helps to be prepared (take a jug to work).

Take care of yourself.

Drink more water.

Your body will thank you.

The Evil At the Week’s Start

We’ve all heard someone declare it. We may even have been the ones to raise a fist to the air in anger on the topic. Week after week I see posts online about people are outraged about it happening.

It seems like it is able to continue in its destructive wake and nobody is doing anything to stop it.

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Monday.

Monday always rolls around and it Feels like we are all subject to its wrath. It comes like a theif in the night to steal, kill, and destroy.

It steals our happiness. It kills any fun happening. It destroys our weekends.

Monday comes around and does whatever it wants. Week after week I see people posting about how they dread the beginning of a new week. They dread going to work.

I am just as guilty about letting Monday get under my skin and “ruin” my life.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. What if I told you, Monday only has as much power over you as you give it? Monday doesn’t have to leave you feeling the same way as a visit from your mother-in-law.

Tweet: Monday: the mother-in-law of days of the week.

It may surprise some to know, but you are in control of how you approach your life. I’m not saying there won’t be days you feel down and out. Often times emotions come and go like surprise storms on the horizon.

However, we can decide to be hopeful, even in the face of Mondays.

Decide Today

Don’t let Monday sneak up on you this coming week (I realize it is Monday now and you may already be caught in the trenches off guard). Make a decision now you will do what it takes to make Monday the best it can be. Let it be a set up to a great week.

Are you stuck at a job you hate? Find something, anything, you enjoy about it and find joy in it. Maybe there’s something coming later in the week you can look forward to doing. Let it be a motivater, even on Monday.

Stop now. Write something down which you can use to keep you from dreading the Mondays to come.

Pick a Friend

I find when I surround myself with complainers I am more likely to complain. When I spend my time around people who are complaining about their job or the coming week, I am much more likely to jump into the same attitude.

Instead of trying to be positive for them to encourage them to have a great attitude I find I just jump on the train and ride along, yelling and screaming about how much the train sucks.

Is there someone in your life who seems to be more positive than others? Not that they never have anything bad going on, but they genuinely seem to find the positive in life?

Hang around them. Talk with them. Soak up that attitude.

It is amazing how hanging around others with a different mindset can change ours. And when you carry a positive attitude, it can be contagious for those around you.

Don’t be fake

In no way am I trying to get you to fake your way through life, pretending all is well when you may legitimately be having a terrible day, or even week. Those times are going to happen. In those periods of life, lean on those friends around you who can encourage and not tear you down further.

Even when life (or “Monday”) is difficult, keep pressing forward. Look for anything positive around you and focus on it.

When we decide to not let Mondays rule or ruin our lives, we gain back the control. We are more productive, proactive, and positive people (yay, alliteration).

So stand strong when Monday rears its head. Don’t let it bring you down. Grab your sword and be the master, instead of the other way around.

Morning Inner Dialogue

*It’s dark. The darkness is partially because his eyes were closed. Mostly though, the sun had not yet risen and the lights were off. He slept comfortably under a warm sheet encasing his body; all except his right leg from the knee down. That remained exposed for a perfect warm/cool balance.


If he were to be asked life had always been this way. He had always been asleep in this soft bed. He had never know another life.

Obviously he couldn’t be asked anything because of his current unconscious state. One person had tried asking him a question once during these moments of sleep which he was convinced never ended, but that person has never done so again.

We wont explore why.

All this was about to change though. This current state of his was coming to an abrupt end. It always ended this way. But it was always new and unexpected.*


What is that terrible sound? It’s so loud and repetitive. Why won’t it stop? Make it stop!

Alarm. That noise is the alarm.

Alarm? What a terrible sounding word. Am I in danger? I don’t feel like I’m in any danger. Ugh, just make it stop. Why am I being tortured?

No, it’s a different kind of alarmIt’s time to get up. Come on, get going. You know once you roll on out of bed and start moving you’ll wake right up. This happens every day.

No it doesn’t.

Stop being ridiculous.

You’re ridiculous.

Wow, real mature. What are you, 5? Come on, get..

You’re five.

Oh my goodness. Just roll out of bed. You go through this every morning.

Today is different.

It really isn’t. 

Leave me alone! All I want to do is lay here in bed and sleep. There’s no crime in that. I work hard, I deserve a litttle sleep. Why hasn’t anyone shut off that blasted alarm?

First, I’m you. I can’t just up and leave. Apparently I can’t do anything because I’m stuck in this lazy body. 

I’m not lazy. I just mentioned how hard I work. Aren’t you listening?

Not even going to acknowledge that response.

That’s typical.

Second, the only person with the power to shut off the alarm is you. So unless you are going…

No power. Batteries drained. Need sleep. What’s so important about today anyway?

It’s a new opportunity at life! There’s work, family friends. A chance to be creative. Adventure awaits and all you have to do to get started is roll out of bed and shut off that alarm.

I really feel like you’re overplaying your hand here. It all sounds nice but nothing can be as great as right where I am at this very moment. Nothing.

There’s coffee.

Coffee?

You know. That savory, dark drink which begins to work its magic as soon as the aroma hits your nose. Then as you take those first sips, not only does it warm you from the inside out, it fuels your soul. It supplies you with energy. I cannot be certain but there’s magic in each cup. Actual magic which gives you the power to not just begin your day but to excel.

Hey, the alarm stopped. How did that happen. Wait a moment, I’m standing up! Coffee.

Every single time.

 

If You Feel Like It…

What she said: “If you feel like it you could clean up the kitchen while I’m gone.”

Innocent enough. But let me tell you, the statement was loaded and needed to be examined with care because it was not what it seemed.

To a bystander, one with an untrained ear, it would appear my wife had given me an option.

She had not.

The phrase, “If you feel like it,” set up an expectation. Really the statement was, “I’ve been busy/had a long day/feeling the need to murder (pick any of the above) and I’m needing some help around the house. Clean the kitchen…or else.”

I can hear her now, “No, I was giving you an option.” Technically, yes. But the two of us have been married long enough for me to know I do not want to see how tomorrow plays out if I chose to not clean up.

Marriage is tricky business. It requires active participation from both parties. One must learn to hear not just the words which come out but also the intention. Here are a few important things to listen for in any conversation.

What tone is being used?

This is probably the easiest. You begin to understand the tone of your partner during the early days of your relationship.

Early on you pick up on the lovey tones, sarcastic quips, or genuine elation.

These tones are an important tool to use in understanding your spouse. When, “It’s fine,” is said in a harsh tone, all is not fine.

Head for the hills or grab some water to throw on the fire. Through trial and error you will come to know which action is best.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

Body language speaks volumes to emphasize your words (think standing on a chair while thrusting a condescending finger down at your someone while screaming down at them).

It can also speak with no words at all (think arms crossed, legs shoulder width apart and scowling).

There are some body language signals which are pretty universal. However, in a marriage you need to understand your spouses body language. Keep from self-projecting (when I feel _______, I do _______ so since she is doing ______ it must mean ______).

There are times I shut down because I’m thinking. I slouch, my face goes stern, and I may even cross my arms. It would lead to many arguments if Jenny thought I was angry with her every single time I “assumed the position.” She’s learned.

She’s a lot smarter than I am.

What Did You Not Just Say?

As with my opening illustration, there are times, a spouse may not say exactly what he or she wants.

Would it be clearer to come right out and say it? Yes.

Would it lead to less frustration if we stopped trying to get our spouses to assume what we want? Yes.

Unfortunately, some people just like to watch the world burn.

Listen for what is not being said. Body language and tone may help to pick up on these secret clues. Breadcrumb trails left from earlier in the day may help.

You receive a text at 9am, “I’m just exhausted today.” Then when you see your spouse later, “the kids have been driving me crazy.” As she walks out the door, “If you want, you could ______.”

Pay attention to detail. I don’t care if you aren’t a detailed oriented person. Get to be detail oriented when it comes to your spouse.

Stay Alert

That’s basically what I’m saying. The two of you married each other because you loved each other. Or I guess it could have been the money. Or it was a dare.

But I’m guessing for most people it was love (I’m sure there’s a study out there somewhere).

Pay attention to each other, and lean to the side of service. Always be looking for ways to serve each other. If you think she may want the kitchen cleaned, do it.

Don’t forget tone easy on each other as well. We all make mistakes. Even when we are a clear as possible there’s still room for misunderstanding. Extend grace and try again.

Now, I’m going to clean the living room as well, just to be safe.

 

What are clues you and your spouse have dropped for each other?