20 July 2012

The Things I Learned from The Great Date Project (Part 1)

Lately, Don and I have been fighting more than usual.  For some reason, we have been annoying each other and petty arguments turn into a big fight.  It is not the end-of-marriage type of fights.  These are just childish fights that we needed to win.

Don and I have been married for eight years and I don't think that this is an extension of the "7-year itch".  You see, we work six times a week.  We spend our entire Sunday with Julia and date nights are often traded for more work, some me-time, more sleep or some time with friends.

So, for the past two weeks, Don and I have been spending our Friday nights at Victory Fort.  This is our second time to attend a Marriage Boosters series at Victory.  I was particularly excited about this Marriage Boosters series because it is entitled "The Great Date Project."  Maybe a "great date" is just what we need.

 Here are some of things I learned from Pastor Jeff Eliscupidez during the 1st (of 3) session:

  • There are four reasons why married couples fight:  (1) difference in priorities and expectations; (2) children issues; (3) sex issues and; (4) financial issues.
  • No couple is exempted from experiencing at least one (or all four!) of these issues.  According to Pastor Jeff, what is important is how we communicate to address these issues.
  • Sometimes, couples fall into the "communication rut" habit.  It is a communication habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive and it is hard to change.  Some couple have a pursuer-withdrawer relationship.
    • A pursuer thinks that anytime is the best time to talk and settle the issues.  A withdrawer on the other hand thinks that there is no best time to talk.  
    • No resolution is reached because couples are either both pursuers, both withdrawers or one is a pursuer and the other is a withdrawer.
  • To avoid getting into the "communication rut", couples must rediscover how to talk intimately:
    • Look for the positive.
    • Think before you speak.
    • Acknowledge your partner's view
    • Orient to your partner.  Enter your partner's world. 
  • We must also avoid the following negative traps:
    • Putting your partner down.
    • Making false assumptions
    • Stonewalling (putting a wall in between you and your spouse) and flooding (process of dumping everything negative to our spouse)
    • Mind reading
Activity 1:  Clay Making
We were given flour, oil, water, salt and food color.  No instructions.
Obviously, I was unsuccessful.  Looks like kwek kwek. 

Love this dice game.  Don and I were able to answer all except the question:
"Tell us about the last date you had together."  We know we watched a movie but
we could not even remember the title!
I'm glad the issues that Don and I go through are simple and they can be avoided.  Here are some of my realizations from Pastor Jeff's talk:
  • Don and I are so familiar with each other that we seldom communicate our expectations.  I often assume that he already knows.  Pastor Jeff is right.  Men are not mind readers.
  • Ever since Julia was born, our day-to-day living has become a routine.  We focus too much on our dad and mom roles that neglect our husband and wife relationship.  We should be able to balance our roles so that we do not neglect our marriage.
  • I should always acknowledge Don's thoughts and emotions rather than focusing on how to "correct" them.
  • I should enter Don's world more often.  He has been inviting me to take swimming lessons so that I can swim with him.  I told him yes, but I said only when I am back to my old weight and figure (aka NEVER).  He loves to run, but I would rather walk and eat squid balls whenever we are in UP.  Hey, I am his number one cheerleader.  I just did not realize how important it is to him that I swim or run or do the things he likes WITH him. 
It was a night of laughter and realizations.  Don and I learned a lot.  I'm glad we attended Marriage Boosters, "The Great Date Project".  I will tell you about our second session soon.  I am excited about our last session tonight.  I will write about that soon, too!

Enjoy your Friday night, Mommies!  
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