Listening is half of communicating. If you are interrupting your partner before they get to the period or explanation point, you are not listening. It’s not easy, but it’s actually disrespectful. Yes, sometimes you know what he/she’s going to say and you want to stop them in their tracks, but try your best not to. I’ve learned that the little things are sometimes of the most importance. Most men talk about a nagging wife, but once we realize that she is really serious about what we think are little things, life will get better for us. These things include but are not limited to taking a vacation, picking up your clothes, taking out the garbage, washing the dishes, fixing the car or the house, sitting down talking about finances etc…But, women also have to listen and try to understand when a man says “I’m tired” or “I just want to watch the game right now” or “work out etc…We don’t like it when you act as if we’re not doing anything productive.
This brings us to time management and planning. When you both have things that you want to accomplish and it’s not getting done to your satisfaction, it’s time to sit down for a few minutes with a calendar if necessary and say “OK”, we’re going to do this on this day and that on that day” and then stick to your new plans the best that you can. If something changes, you will both understand. My number 1 personal technique for keeping the home fires burning is to stop and ask myself “Self, Why did I get with her in the first place? Why did I want to marry her? And, what happened? This helps me to recall and bring up those original emotions and feelings. It also helps me to remember the vows that I took. Speaking of vows, we must touch upon “In sickness and health”. You must both remember to be tender during that time of the month, during allergy season, when someone is experiencing bodily pain such as back or neck pain etc… There will be trips to the hospital and emergencies. At these times your plans may get interrupted. Someone may have to sacrifice something to give their focus to the one in pain.
Remember, it’s important to reminisce about the good times. Sometimes I even go back and check out our pictures of the times when we gave each other butterflies. Then, I do what I can to make that happen again. I send flowers to her workplace cook something special or take her out. After all, I didn’t have to have her. She’s a gift from God. You are both gifts from God for each other. It’s also of extreme importance for both of you to consistently revisit self-examination. Before you play victim or project your pain and defects onto someone else, whether partner, relative, associate or society, make sure you don’t have a thief inside of you that is stealing your joy or causing you to make the same mistakes and errors in your life.
If you are the type of person to point the finger at others and not examine yourself, there could be big problems at some point. If you both are aware of your individual and collective strengths and weaknesses, you can help each other to become solid as a rock and not oppose each other and therefore bring each other down. You can go all the way up.
Lastly, a good professional friend of ours shared something that was truly eye opening. She drew about 3 circles on a piece of paper and she asked us what our problems with each other were. When she finished writing all of our issues down, she summarized them as finances and health issues and then she showed us that we are not each others problems. The problems are the issues that we put on the paper and once we separate our selves from the issues, and tackle the issues, we could have each other back. Remember that communication is the key and you should both be willing at anytime (and frequently) to sit down and reassess where you are and where you’re going! Always remember to stay friends.
(We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from chapter 2 of "Let's Bring Back the Butterflies" by Kamal Imani. Available on Lulu.com and other fine stores!