Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Kim Martinez

2013-03-22 19.30.54-1Kim is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor, a ministry and development coach, and a writer. She has written two books, How to Gain the New Advantage (a book for pastors and church leadership); and Walk Away from Fear, a six-week bible study. She is a columnist at www.ministrytodaymag.com. When she isn’t writing, you will find her behind the wheel of her minivan carting her busy teens to and fro, making way too many trips to the grocery store, or curled up for a moment of peace with her husband. For more information, or to connect with Kim directly, go to her website www.deepimprints.com, sign up for the Get Unstuck Bootcamp (www.getunstuckbootcamp.com).
Creating Space for We

Sometimes it is more important to tell people what you don’t mean instead of what you do mean. As in, “I’m not trying to attack you, I’m trying to figure out if we need to change our plan of attack on getting the garbage to the curb.”

You know that feeling – you plot, sometimes for days, trying to figure out the best way to broach a subject so you will be heard, your message will be received, and behavior will change.

I discovered (mostly from reading Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations) that I often skipped a vital step. I would envision myself in the conversation, I would figure out how to present my case so I would be heard, but I forgot that there was another person, with their own set of emotions and experiences and ears in this conversation. Therefore, when it came time for a conversation, I became acquainted with the word “fail”.

Whether it was my husband or my kids, even the best of my plotting would often fall flat. Sometimes the recipient of my logic already had a bad day, or sometimes my words reminded them of unresolved issues, or maybe my tone of voice was hurtful (No, not me! LOL).
WEHow can I get my point across and still help my spouse/family member feel loved and cared for? By creating a space for We. Crucial Conversations would call it creating a space of safety. Here are the parts as I see them:

  1. Attitude: You are in this together. This is an attitude of the heart that effects your tone of voice. If you feel disdain, it will show. Instead, you need to be a co-laborer. Together you are figuring out how to do life. Together you are using each other’s strengths to get good at the nuances of all the stuff that comes with responsibility.
  2. Acceptance: When you state a problem, state the facts, and avoid extra emotional explanations. In our garbage illustration above, an emotional explanation might look like: “you never do what I ask, and I’m sick of begging you to take the garbage out.” (Can’t you hear the remote click on?)
  3. Affirm: Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is what you are NOT trying to say. “I’m not disappointed in you, I’m frustrated because the garbage isn’t going out and I’m hoping we can find a solution that will work.”
  4. Achieve: Brainstorm together for solutions. Usually things aren’t working because there is a barrier of some kind. Most of us don’t try to let each other down, and the walls we build in marriage are often based on fear we will let the other down even more.

In the end, create a space for “We”. All the issues you face are “We” issues. What affects you affects those you love. More powerfully, when you face issues as a “We” then you are able to find solutions that help you both win.