Did they really say that?

We recently had a very cold day of rain, followed by freezing temperatures at night, thus ice in the morning.

I had been up for a little while that morning doing quiet time, journaling, and writing; but had yet to go outside.

Later that morning, my wife asked, “Did you salt the steps and sidewalk?”

I could hear her question one of two ways. What she actually said or what she didn’t say.

Wisdom I learned a few years ago.

A few years ago I started working with a new mentor. Before giving me a critique or offering a different idea, he would say, “Don’t hear what I am not saying.”

I was annoyed by this phrase and thought: ‘of course, I will not do that. What you say, I hear. I am smart and get it – I won’t read into what you said. Enough already, give me the critique or comment.’

However, over time as I removed my pride and immaturity, I began to realize how wise this concept is. I actually do screw this up…..sometimes more than I want to admit.

So often in our marriages, boss to employee relationships, and other important relationships in our life, when we are confronted with questions, we don’t always hear the question as stated.

Back to the salting the sidewalk story.

My wife asked, ‘Did you salt the steps and sidewalk?’ Simple question.

Often I hear the question as stated and simply answer. Amen for those times!

However, there are other times, I think she says something completely different:

“Did you salt the steps and sidewalk or have you been selfish and lazy this morning? Are you going to make me salt the sidewalk? Do you want me to fall and get hurt? Real men would have salted by now, had coffee poured and omelets made!”

What about you?

Are you hearing what your spouse is actually saying or what they are not saying?

Are you adding head trash into the question?

Next time you start to flare up at a question your spouse asks, hit pause and take a deep breath. Are you reacting to what they actually said or what they didn’t say?

I also encourage you next time your spouse does not respond to your question in the temperament you expected….maybe they read too deep into your question! Reset, extend grace, and then restate the question with the disclaimer.

Same for your boss and employee engagements.

“Will you get this project done by Friday?” This requires just a simple yes or no answer. Instead, a lot of us enter head trash into the question due to our insecurities.

‘Will you get the project done by Friday? Probably not because you are worthless and I can’t count on you for anything. You aren’t as good as Tim down the hallway.”

Head trash is the devil trying to thwart great relationships. Rebuke it.

Thank you for reading,

Cory

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