Do You Really See?

Sep 04, 2023

Like our view of the world when wearing a wrong set of glasses, sometimes we see each other through unhelpful or imperfect understandings:

"He just wants to be mean to me, that's why he's grumpy." When in reality he's overwhelmed at work and he frees up mental space by reducing connection to people. 

"She's upset at me for scheduling something without asking her, she's all about controlling me!" When in reality she's been concerned for a while now about your time and connection together but doesn't know how to bring it up.

Our understandings of each other in a marriage are like lenses we put on to see and get a handle of what's going on. Problem is, often the way we see things is wrong, or incomplete, and yet we march into moments so sure of ourselves! Sometimes couples spend years assuming the wrong things, even hurtful things, about each other's actions.

The solution here is to stop and probe for more understanding. Anger has emotion below it. Stress presents in strange ways. Concern doesn't always look like care. And maybe their attitude towards you isn't personal at all.

As you take this approach, be ready: A deeper understanding doesn't come without some effort. Your partner may not believe or welcome your questions initially; they might say something that reinforces your assumption, and yet still the assumption is misplaced; the way you're coming across may hinder their vulnerability. So, regardless of pushback, purpose in your heart to remain humble and curious - keep at it, creating a safe place for more disclosure, even if that needs to happen later. Use lots of:

"Help me understand..."

"Do you feel like I'm hearing you?"

"What else is true for you when it comes to this?"

Your humility is honoring to the other person and will give you access to more of their heart. Your curiosity will feel great to them and will also prevent you from the defensive mechanisms that have shut down your communication before. 

So lets keep searching for newer, deeper, or clearer understandings of our mates. You know you're on the right track when you're looking past behaviors to truly see who the other person is, when it stirs in you empathy for them, when connection, or at least the promise of it, is restored. 

The right set of glasses feels great. They let you see things as they are instead of how you may fear them to be. The truth about something brings a freedom. The right lenses empower you to truly love another. 

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Photo by Isabella Fischer on Unsplash

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