“Seeking” is very different from “Saying”! We all say things that we want or fully intend to do on a daily basis but our actions (“Seeking”) just don’t match up. We say we want to lose weight, but we keep shoving twinkies in our face and seldom get off the couch. We say we want to quit smoking but we keep buying cigarettes and lighting up. Our words (intentions) and our habits (actions) just don’t go together. You get the picture.
Your mother told you a million times, “Actions speak louder than words.” That is exactly the point! What you say doesn’t mean a thing if what you do isn’t consistent with those words.
Think about your job. Just how successful would you be if you spent the same amount of time learning and improving in your job as you do caring for and improving your relationship with your spouse? Yet, when asked, most individuals would “Say” they value their relationship with their spouse above their job. But if you examine the effort (“Seeking”) they put into their jobs it by far out weighs the effort they put into their relationship with their spouse.
The key to this dilemma is to change the way you think about the things you think about. (But, that’s the next blog. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)
The relationship you have is the price you paid for what you use to think was important! The good news is, if it’s not the relationship you want you can change it. The bad news is, it takes time! Most of us don’t do well with things that take time. We grew up in an “Instant Gratification” society and we want it all right now. Don’t be discouraged you can begin immediately. You simply have reexamine your values, your real values (you know, the ones that you ACT on rather than the ones you tell yourself are important but act as though they don’t exist!)
If you say your spouse is one of the most important things in your life examine the way you treat him/her. Do you give them priority in your time, effort, energy, and thoughts? Or do you put them off and give them what’s left over after everything else is taken care of? When you’re out with your spouse and others do you make jokes at their expense? Do you cut them down without thinking about how it makes them feel? Or do you treat them like they really are a priority in your life? Not sure? Ask a friend who you can trust to tell you the truth, even if it hurts. Better yet, ask your spouse! News flash– don’t try this if you are not ready to take a long hard look at yourself! However, if you really want to have the relationship you always dreamed about and you’re willing to do something about it, this is a great place to start. This is just the beginning.
What you “SEEK” is more important than what you “SAY” you want!
When we wish to correct a short coming, expand on something desirable or learn to do something we’ve always wanted to do we usually go about it the wrong way! Most often we go to a workshop, seminar or retreat for whatever the issue is (time management, anger management, listening deficiencies, relationship building, etc.). When we’ve completed the time required, we walk away with a certificate, a notebook or manual, and a DVD . We are then expected to go home and “be healed”.
We then proceed to put the notebook/manual, DVD and certificate in a drawer or on a shelf and forget about it! We know, statistically, that almost everyone who attends a workshop or seminar will forget 75-80% of everything they heard within 48-72 hours of the event. Yet we keep paying for and going to these events.
I’m not down on workshops and seminars. I conduct them myself! The problem is we expect these events to be the cure all for whatever ails us. What is wrong with that? It’s is using an “academic” approach to solve a “skills” problem. Skills are learned in an entirely different manner than academics.
Academics are usually learned by sitting and listening to a teacher tell us the way things are or should be. Then we take a test and if we spit back the answers the teacher (or guru) gave us we “pass”, if not we “fail’. That simply means we retained the knowledge that was passed along by the expert!
Skills are learned by having a teacher tell us, show us, let us practice, critique, practice, critique, etc. until the skill becomes second nature. Then we are able to execute the skill without consciously thinking about it. It becomes a habit, a way of life for us.
Imagine your favorite NFL coach coming into the locker room at the beginning of the season and saying to your team, “I’ve decided we’re going to win the Super Bowl this year! So, I’ve bought each of you a book, a DVD and enrolled you in a weekend Super Bowl Winner’s Retreat. I want each of you to read the book, watch the DVD and attend the retreat. Then we’ll meet back next February and go win ourselves a Super Bowl!” Are you buying what he’s selling? Of course not!
Your marriage relationship is more about the skills you learn and the actions you execute than about being able to answer the questions on the quiz. We all (most of us!) know how to answer the questions to get a passing grade. But that doesn’t improve our relationships. We must learn the “SKILLS” and APPLY them to our everyday lives in order to have the relationship we desire with our spouse (or anyone else for that matter). Quit being an academic and become skilled at relationship building! That will change your life!