Archive for June 2014

Love means you keep talking to one another

I was eating breakfast in a hotel a while back and noticed an older couple a few tables over from me. Neither of them said a word to each other the entire time I was there. They just worked through their breakfast in silence.

Granted, I don’t know how that couple acts outside of that particular breakfast, but at that moment, the scene made me a little sad. Here was a couple who looked like they had been together for several decades, seeming to ignore each other.

They weren’t silent because they no longer needed words around each other  – I don’t think that’s a real thing. They seemed to be silent because at some point they had started taking one another for granted.

That’s something I don’t want for my marriage. I want my wife and I to stay curious about each other and what the other is thinking and feeling. I want us to keep talking.

Communicating love

I think the silent couple stood out to me so much because I had seen such a drastically different example from my parents. They always communicated with one another.

And when my mother developed Alzheimer’s, my dad kept on talking to her, even after she forgot who he was. He’d introduce himself to her every day and tell her that he loved her.

We found out after they both passed away that he had also been writing her notes and cards. We discovered a box of them – birthday cards, Christmas cards – anniversary, Easter, etc etc.

Even though she thought he was a stranger, my dad kept talking to her. He kept communicating and expressing his love. Even when she couldn’t understand him at all, he kept talking.

That’s the kind of husband I want to be and that’s why that silent couple bothered me.

Again, I don’t know them apart from that moment, but that particular moment is something I want to avoid as much as possible in my own life.

I never want to take my wife for granted or stop asking questions because I assume I know what she’s thinking. I believe continued communication is required to have a healthy marriage. But past that, I also think each person in a marriage owes that lasting curiosity and expression to the other. If you love someone, you keep talking to them.

How to take a compliment

I’m not very good at receiving compliments – I don’t think many people are. When someone says “Good job!” it’s hard not to wave the compliment away or mumble something and look embarrassed.

But I’ve discovered, as hard as it sometimes is to take a compliment, not doing it can be disrespectful and even hurtful to the person giving it.

Learning to accept praise

There are a lot of reasons why accepting compliments can be uncomfortable. Sometimes it because we don’t feel confident about what we’re being praised for.

“Did I really do a good job? Was this steak really that great? I don’t feel like I did anything special.”

You might feel like you don’t deserve the compliment and deflect it or, even worse, crush it and basically tell the other person that they’re wrong.

“Well, it was OK I guess. Nothing special though.”

When you turn away a compliment, you’re turning away a gift and for most of us, turning away a gift is considered rude.

You’re also keeping yourself from something that might improve your life, or at least your day.

Treat compliments like a flower

Instead of rejecting or deflecting compliments, it may be better to treat them as if they are flowers from both the person giving the compliment and God.

Keep your flower for a day. Appreciate it. Smell the aroma.

Then give it back.

Once you’ve accepted and then let go of the compliment you’ve been given, try again tomorrow. Don’t try to get a new compliment just for the sake of the compliment, but try to recreate and improve upon whatever it was that you earned the original compliment for.

If you’re pushing yourself to be better you may start feeling more confident about what you’re doing, and may do more of it. That might mean you’re helping more people.

At a minimum, you’ll feel better about yourself and are being respectful and appreciative of the gifts that are being given to you.