A friend of mine home schools her children and she has a slogan she reminds her daughter of daily, “Knowledge, Understanding and then Wisdom.” I admire the strength of this statement. See gaining knowledge about something is just the beginning. The reality is we spend the majority of our time in the understanding stage and rarely do we reach wisdom.
When it comes to communication, I have the knowledge and I’m at the tale end of understanding, but I have not yet mastered it. I am truly a work in progress. I’ve gotten better, but I have not arrived. See understanding is when we know we should do certain things, or say something a certain way. It’s being fully aware that interrupting someone while they are speaking is rude, inappropriate and unproductive, but we give ourselves excuses like “I ain’t got time to coddle his feelings, or I shouldn’t have to sugar coat what I need to say. However, a wise woman knows that time in itself is relative. We determine what we have time for and the idea that we don’t have time for something we should value means we haven’t learned to value it.
Some of us communicate more than others. Regardless of how little or much a person speaks there are just a few reasons we communicate at all. When you dialog with someone, anyone you are trying to give them information manage a relationship or make a request. Most of the time we want something, we are making a request. There is however a formula to making a request and using the formula will determine if your significant other thinks you are just nagging or a change is on the horizon.
So when you are making a request, here’s the formula:
1) Validate the person and the relationship. Restore their sense of self-worth.
2) Clearly and concisely what you want the other person to do
3) Explain how their current action makes YOU feel and include your expectation. You can only use “I statements” no “you make me mad when, “you should know” or “you always.”
4) When possible offer a possible solution
5) Assume the person will comply and thank them
Oh and by the way, my disclaimer is that this only works if you are in a relationship with someone that values you and the relationship. I have a quiz I can give you later if you need help with this determination.
Now that we have the knowledge, let’s see if I can help with the understanding. Let’s say for example your issue is that your spouse leaves his dirty dishes where he ate and it drives you crazy. You can replace dishes with whatever applies, socks, shoes, etc…You have complained about it before, but have you made a formal request ? And yelling at him NOT to do it, is not a request, that’s nagging. So using the formula above would go something like this:
1) “Babe, thank you so much going to the store to get the onion for the meatloaf. I am grateful to have a helpmate.” Wait for his ‘you’re welcome.’
2) “There is something else, I’d like you to do to help me, though. Can you please put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher when you finish?
3) I feel over-whelmed and unappreciated when I have to clean up after dinner.
4) If you don’t feel like putting them in the dishwasher, can you at least put them in the sink so I can get to them later? Again wait for his response..
5) Now here’s the hard part…..assume that he heard you and if he said he would….believe him. None of that yeah right mentality or I bet he don’t attitude and when he forgets as he probably will don’t assume it’s him ignoring your request. Just remember that old habits are hard to break and we all need to be reminded when we are changing a behavior.
Now there you go with the sister girl attitude: “Ain’t nobody got time for that, he knows the dishes don’t clean themselves. How come I have to craft all that to get him to do what he should already know?”
I’ll tell you why, because that’s the difference between understanding and wisdom. A wise woman knows that all of the above will more likely than not get you want you desire and that alone is worth a try. A wise woman knows that all of the above to get the dishes from the table to the sink is worth a little bit of her piece of mind.
So before you write this off and tell me it won’t work….try it, you might like it. The journey to wisdom is paved with uncertainty, but perfected through trial and error.