Communication Is The Key To Prevent Your Marriage Train From Derailing


As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I enjoy driving for Lyft and Uber.  I enjoy the freedom of scheduling my own hours, listening to music and sports radio all day long (without driving Karen crazy) and talking with my rider’s.  Being able to hear and understand some of my customers though was difficult at times because I’m completely deaf in my right ear.  Karen may call my disability, “Selective Hearing Disorder” but I really have a hard time hearing people who talk to me from the right of me, especially in the car.  All the road noise will pummel my good left ear while drowning out the words spoken by anyone in the passenger seat.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy hearing aids.  They aren’t normal hearing aids though.  Sound coming from my right side is captured by a transmitter in my right ear and transmitted over to a hearing aid in my left ear by a wireless signal.  Hallelujah, the deaf can hear…at least that’s what I thought until this morning.

Most mornings, Karen and I have been getting up at 7:00 to go swimming in our community pool before I take off driving for Uber and Lyft.  This morning I woke up a little before seven.  Karen was sound asleep so I decided to let her rest while I powered up the computer, opened up EveryDollar (our monthly budgeting tool) and did some much needed tweaking.

Karen joined me at the computer around 8:30.  She was disappointed I hadn’t woken her at seven to go swimming.  She asked what I had been doing so I told her I was working on our budget.  The following is the short version of the conversation that ensued.

DISCLAIMER…The following conversation is presented to only state the facts, not as a vehicle to pass judgement or take sides.

Terry:  I was working on EveryDollar.

Karen:  When are you planning on actually doing it?

SIDE NOTE:  I had actually began EveryDollar in February but temporarily stopped in May because of all the craziness from the move to our new home.  I had told Karen numerous times I would resume the budget beginning June 1st.

Terry:  I’ve told you numerous times I’d start June 1st.

Karen:  I don’t remember you telling me that.

Terry, while vigorously scratching his head in frustration:  I’ve told you at least five times.

Karen:  When I’m in this much pain from my neck you know I don’t retain things.

Terry:  You seem very irritable this morning.

Karen:  It’s not just the pain I’m trying to deal with today.  Yesterday was four years since Mom died, I’m adjusting to living here without a car and….

Terry:  What does that have to do with EveryDollar?

Karen answers with tears welling up in her eyes:  Sometimes you need hearing aids for your heart instead of your ears.

Our marriage is like a powerful train chugging down tracks laid by our communication to each other.  Once in a while, like this morning, those tracks we lay are full of defects and our train derails.  When that happens, we both have to dig deep into our tool chests to begin repairing the damage done to our relationship.

What tools do you ask?  That’s a good question.  Let me tell you.  Our tool chest is the Bible and every tool needed to repair a damaged relationship can be found inside.

1.   The first tool is actually a lubricant for the prevention of a breakdown and is found in Ephesians 4:29.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”

2.   The second tool is listening.  We don’t listen when we concentrate on a snarky rebuttal or interrupt.  Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame.”

3.   The next tool is to share a response which is sincere and proper.  I may have heard what Karen said, but my heart had tuned her out.  I ignored the advice of Galatians 6:2.  “Share in each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”  Romans 12:15 gives further insight.  “Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.”

4.    The final tool is a sincere apology.  James 5:16 says to, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  And don’t wait to make amends.  “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27

So the next time your marriage train begins to wobble on poorly laid tracks of communication, grab your Bible and take out these tools before your locomotive derails.









The Devious “P” Word….Part 2

_I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours._ (1)DSC_0558You’ve seen the image a million times….a cartoon character, let’s say Mickey Mouse, is facing a tough decision.  Does he mow Minnie’s lawn like he promised, or does he put it off to spend the day at the beach with Donald and Goofy?

Suddenly, a miniature Mickey sporting horns and wearing red tights appears on his left shoulder.  “Go to the beach Mickey.  You can mow the lawn tomorrow.”

Mickey nods but is startled when another mini-Mickey appears on his right shoulder wearing a white sheet with a gold halo hovering over his little head.  “Mickey, Mickey, Mickey….You promised Minnie you’d mow the lawn today before it rains tomorrow.”

“Hey buddy,”  the red mouse whispers, “don’t always be such a goody-two-shoes.  Go to the beach….you deserve to have fun.”

The white mouse replies, “You need to keep your word, Mickey.  You can go to the beach after you mow the lawn.”

Red Mickey pokes big Mickey with a pitch fork.  “Go to the beach now or later you’ll be too tired to have any fun.”

And on and on it goes.  How does it end?  Only Big Mickey can choose what to do.  To procrastinate or to take action really comes down to making a choice.  The old saying that, “It’s all in your head,” is so appropriate when deciding to defeat procrastination, because the battlefield is waged between all that gray matter between your ears.

Do we really need to worry about procrastinating?  What’s the big deal with, “putting off until tomorrow what you can do today?”

Some of the results of procrastination are:

  1. Ruined reputations.
  2. Damaged relationships.
  3. Stunted careers.
  4. Stress.
  5. Health problems

So why do we procrastinate?

  1. Personality – Are you an over-achiever, ultra-competitive, and love staying busy?  Then you have a Type A personality.  Procrastinators drive you crazy.  Do people describe you as laid back, calm, unhurried or even mellow?  Then you probably are the type of person who often drive Type A personalities crazy because procrastination is synonymous with your Type B personality.
  2. Fear of Failure – Karen is very creative, especially when it involves creating ‘Honey Do Lists’ for me.  I have no problem with completing the things on the list that I know I can accomplish with little difficulty like: emptying the dish washer, taking down the garbage and mowing the lawn (are you listening, Mickey)?  The things on the list I tend to procrastinate on are things I don’t feel comfortable doing like: Fix the lawn mower, figure out the glitch in the computer or go on the internet to learn how to solve those problems.  This is out of my ‘comfort zone’ and is pushed down to last priority on Karen’s list or somehow gets accidentally removed from the list.
  3. Busyness of LifeLet’s face it.  We all overcommit, fail to organize, people please, and say, “yes” when we should be saying, “no”.  We live at a frantic pace and have a hard time slowing down (I’m speaking to the Type B personalities here; Type A’s don’t know the meaning of overcommitment or people pleasing.

Now that we know why we procrastinate, what can we do to move forward?

  1. Make a list.  I know, I know….you’ll do it tomorrow.  No – do it right now and I mean right now! (Unless you’re driving, and in that case you have a Type A personality and should wait to read this later.)  Do you have that pencil and paper?  Good!
  2. Write down everything you want to do, need to do and have been told to do today.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  This is a list for today only.
  3. Now organize your list putting the things you don’t want to do at the top of your list.  After you finish those things, reward yourself with the things you want to do.
  4. Do this every evening before you go to bed.  You will be surprised at how this relieves the stress you may be feeling over unfinished projects.  It even helps me go to sleep quicker.

I know this sounds very simplistic but it needs to be – or us procrastinators won’t do it.  Making lists is not in our nature but put reminders up around the house to do it.  After a month, it will become a habit you will be glad you started.