Friday, November 1, 2013

Marriage Tune Up Week 3!

Surprise trip to see the Yankees!

We met with our marriage group this week and it was illuminating as always! This week we read chapter 2 of our book, I Promise: How Five Commitments Determine the Destiny of Your Marriage, which focused on Honor.

I won't ruin it in case you decide to read it someday but what stood out to me was taking the mindset that your marriage partner is a "treasure of unfathomable worth" that is "personally autographed by God" and that we can't begin to imagine all of the qualities that our partners have that are made just for us. I can relate. I've always thought it was interesting how alike EH and I are in the ways that matter (morals, worldview, etc.) and how different we are in such complementary ways. He's pessimistic while I'm positive. He's  a free-spirited, go with the flow kind of guy. I like order and details and plans. He's OK with being late. I'd rather be early than on time.

Over the years, we've rubbed off on each other so much that we've started to take on each others' characteristics. He can now recognize the benefit of being early and I can go with the flow from time to time. It seemed that everything I needed to work on was present in him.

Another key lesson was the idea of confirmation bias, which is the idea that people will favor information about their spouse that confirms what they already believe about them. I tend to believe that EH would rather sit on the couch than take care of household things and that he does this because he doesn't care about the upkeep of our home. So, when I have to tell him to take out the trash or help me clean a room, I lash out because it confirms what I already believe about him. How I view the situation definitely affects how I respond.

He finally had to tell me that he didn't think about the house much at all and that if I wanted him to do things with the house I would have to tell him about it. This pissed me off but at least he was honest about his limitations and as a result I can adjust the expectations I have for him. I had to look honestly at this issue. Just because something is important to me doesn't mean it's going to be as important to him. He may not be on top of household things but he's excellent with making me feel special and planning family activities, which is just as important to me.

The group talked about how their spouses have shown or not shown them honor during their relationship/ marriage. I shared that when EH and I moved in together, a year into our relationship, his parents had a sort of intervention with him about our relationship. They weren't sure I was the right person for their son at the time because we were so different. I think it was a combination of me being from a different culture and me taking away their first born son that made me not suitable in their eyes. EH basically told his parents they were gonna have to deal with me because I was the woman he was going to be with, whether they liked me or not. I think once his family realized I wasn't going anywhere they steadily began to accept me and our relationship. This was the first real instance when I felt honored by my husband but it wouldn't be the last.

Another woman in the group shared that she was having trouble relating to and gaining acceptance from her in-laws, who kept comparing her to her partners ex-girlfriend and dishonoring her to her partner and her stepchild. I really felt for her because I know how it feels to want acceptance from someone and not receive it. Her partner's reaction was to get angry at and separate from his family for a while which only made things worse for her. A perfect example of how important honoring your partner is, in private and in public.

We capped off the night with a communication activity. We were both given a piece of printer paper and told to communicate with each other about what to do with the sheet of paper. The aim was to end up with the same iteration of the paper by the end of the task BUT we had to do it with our backs to each other. Now, I have to be honest, I was sure we were gonna mess this up. No, actually, I was sure HE was gonna mess it up. I was full of confidence in myself and confirmation bias!

We took turns giving each other directions on what to do with the paper and lo and behold:


We got an exact match!! I was eating crow...internally of course. It felt affirming to be able to do something together successfully and the exercise showed me how I use confirmation bias in my relationship without even realizing it.

When have you used confirmation bias in your relationship and been proven wrong? How does your partner show you honor?

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