I have dear friends who have been journeying through their first year of marriage. After a fairy tale courtship that would make any woman’s heart melt onto the floor, they moved in together and started their new life. The couple dutifully accepted advice from their family and friends, and also completed a thorough and in-depth marriage prep class that equipped them with the tools they would need for relational success. While they learned about communication – among other valuable lessons – it wasn’t until two years into their marriage that they were blessed to grow closer through a real clashing of opinions and subsequent resolution through communication.
At two years into the marriage, this sweet couple just discovered that they were pregnant! What a joyful gift! Both were ecstatic and delighted that they would be gifted with their first child together, and as the pregnancy ensued, they were absolutely overjoyed to share their news with their friends and family. Then came the doctor’s appointment when they would find out the baby’s sex. While my friend was dearly hoping for a girl, her husband was simply praying for a healthy baby. This is where their differing opinions clashed.
While the wife genuinely felt that she would love her baby, no matter the sex, she also accepted the reality of her true desire for a precious baby girl. So, when the doctor pronounced that they would be having a boy, her heart sank just a little. Rather than hide her feelings of unfulfilled hope, she expressed to her husband that she honestly felt somewhat let down, even though she knew she would get over those feelings soon. Her husband completely missed his cue to respect her honesty and dug into her for not being happy with the blessing of a happy baby.
Although both parties in this scenario are, of course, entitled to their true feelings about the matter, the best way for a couple to maintain a longstanding connection and bond throughout their relationship is to seek connection – even during times of disconnect in position. This all happens through communication. A better response for the husband (and soon-to-be-father) would have been to express his understanding of his wife’s feelings. If he verbally acknowledged her genuine disappointment, and instead of condoning, reassured her that the universe has an even better plan for their family, the couple could have connected despite the different opinions.
Think about your relationships – whether intimate, casual, professional or otherwise. Are you making a conscious effort to consider others’ perspective before you make your judgment of their different opinion? Their thoughts and feelings are their true reality, and often you can coax a change in those thoughts and feelings, but it’s better done with sugar and honey than with vinegar.