Slow Living FAQ No. 2 || When Your SO Isn't On The Same Page

Slow Living FAQ No. 2 || When Your SO Isn't On The Same Page

 

Neither my husband or I are minimalists by nature. I tend towards disorganization and am a "recovering shopaholic" and my husband, although he likes a clean house, doesn't have the same drive to simplify and streamline our life like I do. 

One of the most common struggles I hear from people trying to simplify their life is that they feel like their spouse or significant other will slow down the process of minimizing — and not in a good way. 

If there's one thing marriage has taught me is that you can't force your partner to do something they don't want to do, and even if they do bend their lifestyle to accommodate yours, the changes (if they're not genuinely from the heart) won't stick around for long. 

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4 Ways to be a Better Listener (And Why it Matters)

I always thought that I was a good listener until I actually put it to the test. Our Sunday school class was going into a series about listening that really resonated with me. I picked up a book my mother had given me about the subject and decided that I would learn to be a better servant, better wife, and a better friend by becoming a better listener.

It’s harder than you’d think. 

Most people don’t think of themselves as bad listeners, which may be a big part of the problem. Perhaps we don’t check our phone as much as that one person we know, but there always seems to be so many distractions keeping us from fully immersing ourselves in one moment.

Too often I find myself thinking more about what I am going to say than fully listening to what someone else is telling me. Women often accuse men of jumping too fast to “fix” things instead of just listening to their problems, but a lot of the time I find myself doing the same thing to my husband when he’s telling me about his rough day. Many of our personal arguments are often caused by misunderstandings, or not really listening, to what the other is saying. It’s humbling to think that maybe people don’t need my input as much as they need me just to shut up and allow them to be fully heard.

Most people don't think of themselves as "bad listeners", but when you find it hard to focus on what the person is saying rather than thinking of how you're going to respond, these 4 tips will help you value the person you're talking with and become a better listener.

Listening is difficult when we disagree with what’s being said. We only listen to what we like to hear instead of trying to understand things from the other’s point of view. With the present election coming up, and all the social issues around us, it’s easy to want to cloister ourselves in with other people who agree with us and chuck rocks at the “other side”. There needs to come a point where we humble ourselves enough to let go of our defensiveness and hear them out even when we strongly disagree with their opinions. We may find that we can learn something from them, or that their viewpoints were not as wacky as we first believed. 

Though I am still growing in this (I’m no expert, by any means), here are a few tips for better listening:

Slow down

Don’t assume that you already know what someone else is going to say. Listen to them without interrupting or interjecting your “helpful” advice.

Put away distractions

Put your phone out of reach, or turn it off when you are dedicating time to listening. Checking your phone during a conversation greatly increases the other person’s sense of insignificance, almost like they are the distraction begging you for some time together.

Know when to help

A lot of the time people don’t want to hear your fix-all solutions to their problems, they just want someone there to share their pain or experiences with. Don’t treat people like projects because they will catch on to that attitude and close themselves off to you. There are times when people can be stuck in a cycle of harmful self-shaming where you can interject—lovingly, tenderly, with much care for their personal benefit.

Stay humble

Listening is a chance to serve others and allow them space to feel valued and validated. There will be times when you hardly get to say anything that you may have wanted to share with them, but it may be for the better.

A lot of listening has to do with living more simply, with less distractions and a lot of patience. Know that to be a really good listener takes time and effort; but it is a skill anyone can learn.

Simply Communicate: The Power Of Saying What Needs To Be Said

Have you ever had that moment when you know you need to have a hard conversation? 

I used to waste whole days thinking about what to say in those moments.  Most of the time, I would rehearse my words over and over, but I rarely, if ever, would express them. 

This was tragic because the people in my life didn’t really know me, and my relationships became shallow and more complicated. 

Here is how I moved toward simplicity in saying what needs to be said. 

A couple months back I was beginning to have a conversation in my mind with a friend who had hurt me.  While doing this, I was frantically sweeping the kitchen floor.  I often go into a cleaning frenzy when I don’t want to face hard things and I just want to control something in my life. My husband saw what was going on and said, “Why don’t you just call your friend and tell her how you feel?”  My first thought was:  “I can’t do that.”  “I need more time to think this through.” But I didn’t need more time.  I needed to face my fear that my friend would not understand me.

Photo courtesy of Miki Wick

Photo courtesy of Miki Wick

So I faced my fear.  I decided to go for it.  I put down my broom.  I left crumbs on the floor and I called my friend. As, I tearfully bumbled though how I felt I was amazed by the love and grace she extended.  She forgave me. She told me she loved and supported me.

Looking back, I am so thankful I put down the broom. I’m thankful I called instead of having another hard conversation stuck in my head.  If I had said nothing I would have missed out on hearing the sweetness of her voice as she shared her heart with me.  I would have missed the opportunity to be known and to know her better.  And honestly, I would have wasted countless hours thinking about what and if I should say anything. 

This experience taught me there is great beauty in the rawness of our unpolished words.  I doubt all such conversations I have going forward will turn out this well.  But, I still think it’s worth the risk to simply communicate.   While the risks are real, the potential for richer relationships is real too. 

At Home Date Nights || "Date Crates"

I've been dying to share this at home date night with you all for so long! We decided to try something new this month and have a date night shipped right to our door step.

Sound too good to be true? It kind of was, in fact. I heard about Date Crates on Instagram and after reading a little bit more about them, I knew I had to try it out- so we ordered one (actually it was a gift from my mother-in-law. Thanks Chris! ;) 

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