Sharing is Caring

In summary, we must consider each other’s
desires as if they were our own. This again
emphasizes the need for us to listen and to talk
to each other. How else can we understand
our spouse’s needs? Too often, we think only
from our perspective. A wife, for example, says
that she would like to change the furniture, but
the husband immediately thinks only of the
cost. He resists the idea. “It’s too expensive.
It’s a waste. What’s wrong with the furniture
we have now. It suits me fine. She is just like
other women– always wanting expensive
things for no reason at all. I’m going to put my
foot down this time. I don’t care what others
do,but I am not going to give into these
reckless demands.”
She senses his inner resistance. Tension
builds. Silence ensues as they both scream
inwardly. Angrily, but to herself, she complains:
“I never get what I need. It’s always about the

money. But I see him buy books and

  • magazines and clothes for himself. I wish I
    had enough money of my own so that I would
    never have to beg him for anything. He always
    makes me feel awful–like I’m trying to waste
    his money.” Either a loud bitter argument or a
    quiet resentful stalemate will follow. In either
    case, a part of the relationship will die and stay
    buried until some other issue resurrects the
    memory of that unresolved conflict to haunt the
    couple again.
    All of this could have been avoided if the
    husband had Listened to, Valued, and taken
    Ownership of his wife’s desires. This doesn’t
    mean that he had to agree immediately to buy
    new furniture. Perhaps the money really wasn’t
    there. But his obligation was to get to the heart
    of the matter– to her heart– to find out why she
    wanted that new furniture. How? First, he
    should have given her the benefit of the doubt
    by applying the Faith of Lovers:
    “(Love) believeth all things” (I Cor. 13:7). In
    other words, he should have said to himself:
    “My wife is a reasonable, loving person.
    Though I don’t quite get it, I’ve got to believe
    that she has a good reason for wanting new
    This would have gotten him into the right
    frame of mind for the next step which is to ask
    questions for understanding (ASK-where’s the
    acronym for this?). He would have been able to
    show great respect for her request by asking
    questions for clarification: “Wow, honey, I
    hadn’t thought of that. What type of furniture
    were you thinking of getting?” “You think that
    would make this room look better…” or, “How
    do you think it will change the way the room
    looks?” “Yes, I can see that now.” “On a scale
    of 1-10, how important is it for you to make this
    change right now?” or, “Do you think we need
    to do it right away?” or Can we see how we
    can put some money together to get it done?”
    His goal should not have been to
    immediately dissuade her because of his fears.
    His goal should have been to get to a mutual
    understanding through love. When he
    minimized her request, he diminished her
    value. He began to treat her as if she were a
    wanton child with an idle request. When he
    resisted her desires without seeking to
    understand them, he entered into the

    manipulation zone where his goal was to get

    what he wanted–or to keep her from getting
    what she wanted–by any means necessary.
    In the end, she might choose to drop the
    issue, but she knows that she has lost
    something that was important to her. She will
    remember the loss. She will also remember
    that she lost simply because she was not as
    skillful with words or as dominant and
    financially independent as he was. He might
    have saved money but lost his honey.