Monday, July 16, 2012

Roses: The Mystery of Reading Minds

Many of you know that I spend several hours with engaged couples preparing them for marriage. But it dawned on me that many of the concepts we review in those discussions can prove helpful for relationships at their early stages. So, from time to time I will present concepts that I feel can benefit a wider, not yet engaged, audience.

To make this less preachy and more enjoyable, I will try to pull from my personalimage experiences to allow you to laugh at me as much as my wife does. The first topic I’d like to present is the impossibility of reading each other’s minds.

One of the earliest challenges usually faced in budding relationships is the false assumption that the other person thinks just like you do. Believe me, if you assume the guys and girls should think alike you are in for a great disappointment. Let me explain.

image When we first got married, I made a lot of decisions based on assumptions. For example, I assumed that all girls love roses. So whenever there as an event that demanded flowers, I would always get roses. After many years of blissfully thinking that I was me most in-tuned husband on the planet, Sister Heiss politely said: “ You know, I am really not a big fan of roses. I really like carnations.”

Carnations? I didn’t even know what a carnation was, and this was way before one couldimage Google such things.

image Well, as the next flower occasion came, I remembered that she didn’t like roses, but I couldn’t remember what flower she did like. You see, I grew up thinking a carnation was a brand of milk. So, after giving her a series of  daisies, mums, and other non-roses, she took me to a flower shop and showed me what a carnation looked like.

Yeah, I’m slow…

So, as we analyze this simple situation I can see two problem. First, I simply made an assumption that my wife would like roses. I never asked. I just assumed. Second, my wife could have made her flower preference known much earlier to have saved years of unwanted roses.

image The issue could have easily been resolved through communication. Instead we both assumed the other would instinctively know what to do.

When you join the great adventure or a relationship, you need to try your hardest to avoid assuming you understand each other. You don’t. To avoid unnecessary stress, I strongly encourage you to find inventive ways to clearly communicate what your expectation are.

Now don’t be demanding. Rather, be open and patient. For example, if you like flowers, notes, candy, or other small and simple things, then tell him. If you like to celebrate imagenoteworthy events, then let him know, If you struggle with thinking up original things to do, then tell her.

In my opinion, the best way to break down the walls that keep us apart is to  communicate. The best way to buttress those walls is to assume you know what he or she is thinking.

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