At our church recently one of our pastors interviewed Shaunti Feldhahn about her latest book, The Kindness Challenge.
David and I found it fascinating. We all know we should be kind, but do we really know how? Feldhahn revealed three simple steps that have proven to make any interaction better and any relationship thrive. They are:
- Say nothing negative about that person – either to them or about them.
- Each day, find one positive thing to praise or affirm about that person. Then tell them and tell someone else.
- Each day, do one small act of kindness or generosity for them.
Here are some interesting facts from those who took the 30-Day Kindness Challenge:
Percentage of spouses who said they were happy in marriage:
Well we are up to the challenge. In fact, our Coupletime group which consists of three other couples, is going to read the book and take the 30-day challenge. David and I are already seeing some great results. For example, I received a note this morning thanking me for the act of kindness I did for him yesterday. David and I both agree that if couples would sincerely do this, it could transform relationships in such a positive way.
So are you up for the challenge?
If so, here is a link you can go to find out more: http://www.jointhekindnesschallenge.com
David, my husband, used to joke and tell people I would read anything… a cereal box, directions on toys from McDonald’s, or the phone book. He was right. I’m still like that. I know he thought I was just weird.
Growing up in a family where my mom was confrontational, I didn’t have any problem addressing issues. David, on the other hand, wanted to hold on to peace. This was just foreign to me. We’ve learned to adjust to one another over the years, but it wasn’t until I read Strength-based Marriage and did the assessment, that I understood these things we perceived as quirks better.
See my top “talent” or “strength” is Learner. People who are Learners have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites us. I see value in continuous learning. For David, Learner isn’t in his top “talents/strengths.” His number one “talent/strength” is Harmony. This probably isn’t any where near my top ones. See he looks for areas of agreement. He sees little to be gained from conflict and friction. He seeks to find common ground with people.
The interesting thing is these “talents/strengths” are inherent traits. According to Allen Kelsey, a Certified Strengths Coach, “these traits are uniquely, instinctively and permanently yours. They are hardwired in your brain.” See it is not so much about what we do, but who we are. And no amount of getting after someone is likely to change them.
Knowing this helped us understand one another better. Therefore, if you’d like to know more about this topic, check out the book Strengths-based Marriage.” Or, if you are in the Crestwood, KY area you are welcome to borrow it from our library. Just give us a call or email us first.
Grace and peace,
From my husband’s perspective, I’m sure the question seemed like an innocent one. “Why didn’t you put the bag of dirty laundry in the suitcase?”
I immediately felt put down and became defensive. I really didn’t think about where to put the bag of dirty laundry as long as it got to where it needed to be — back in the car so we could continue our trip.
Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist in Denver had this to say about beginning a sentence with “Why didn’t you. . .?”
He says, “Never begin a sentence with ‘Why didn’t you. . .?’ As harmless as this question seems, there’s a presumption behind it that your partner should have known better In other words, your criticizing them for not being smart enough, not knowing better or not thinking it through. You’re questioning their intelligence. The same is true for asking, ‘What made you think that?’ You’re essentially asking your significant other to read your mind about what you think they should have done differently Let them have their autonomy and make their decisions. You don’t need to criticize them for their decisions, even the bad ones.”
David, my husband, and I talked about this and came away with a better understanding of why this was upsetting even though that wasn’t his intention. Well, as we travel this journey of marriage, we are constantly learning and this is a lesson we hope from which we can grow.