Although we may think we know everything about the other, the reality is that we are each changing every day. Open-hearted curiosity motivates us to pursue deeper knowledge of the other and can help maintain our sense of wonder.
Without it, our marriage can become stale, and although we may be individually developing, our relationship can stagnate. Not only is that a boring outcome, but it also puts our relationship at risk.
One of the relationship tools of SmartLoving is ‘Time out to ask why’. We use it when one is upset, or there’s tension rising between us.
Rather than just burying it or pushing harder into an argument, we try to take a step back to privately ask ourselves some why questions: why am I reacting this way? Where is this coming from?
This practice frequently uncovers insights and unresolved frustrations from our formation history. These ‘lightbulb’ moments are tremendously valuable and often lead to a complete resolution of the tension between us.
‘Time out to ask why’ is a simple self-awareness habit that helps us identify our subconscious drivers. It brings into our awareness our motivations, fears, needs, dreams, and assumptions so that we can see them more clearly.
It empowers us to own our reactions rather than pushing all the blame onto our spouse for ‘upsetting’ us. For our reaction is not just about their words or actions. It’s also about our interpretations and expectations.
From there, we can make choices about how we want to move forward. Instead of simply reacting, we can choose a response that is conscious and intentional.
That’s just the way God made me!
There’s lots of messaging in our culture around acceptance. This is an important aspect of how we express love towards another. Being loved and accepted with all our gifts, flaws, history, and limitations is profoundly affirming and healing.
However, equally, we all have the capacity to be so much more than we are right now. The idea that we should simply accept ourselves ‘as the way we are’ is a nihilistic idea that takes us nowhere. As Jordon Peterson reminds us: “You could be way more than you are!”
Whether we’re thinking about our own interior life and mentality, or about our marriage, we can indeed be ‘way more than we are’. It’s part of our nature as human beings to seek after more.
In fact, aspiring to be better, to improve, and to grow is a manifestation of our desire for the divine. God created us in His image, with the capacity and desire for infinite goodness, truth, and beauty.
So, take some time out to “ask why?” It facilitates our self-awareness, empowers growth in our relationships and, like our little granddaughter’s honest enquiry, will ultimately lead us to God.
Married for 25 years, with 5 children, Byron & Francine Pirola are the founders and co-authors of the SmartLoving Series – marriage enrichment and marriage preparation courses designed to help build successful and resilient marriages. International speakers and authors of numerous articles on marriage, more than 3000 couples have attended their programs, workshops and conferences in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain
Byron & Francine are Executive Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre from which they run SmartLoving programs and produce digital resources. Francine graduated from Fordham University with a Masters in Religion and Religious Education. Byron is a founding partner of the strategic consulting firm, Port Jackson Partners Limited, and a Director of both listed and unlisted companies. He holds a PhD from the Commonwealth Centre for Gene Technology, Adelaide University.
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
Dads4Kids – Building Men. Growing Fathers. Changing Generations.