Knowing Your Strengths in Your Marriage

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,
Penny Hudson

The Toxic “Why”

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.


Only you

7507About ten years into our marriage, we went through a very difficult time.  So we went to counseling.  For us it didn’t work.  Why?  Because we came with these attitudes.  I was thinking, “If the counselor could just fix David everything would be fine.”  David will tell you he was thinking, “Straighten her out and we won’t have any more problems.”  Well, we now know that’s a formula for disaster and after several months the counselor told us, “This marriage isn’t going to work and dismissed us.”

Well for us it took a heart change and it took the Lord to change our hearts.  Once we came to know the Lord and began applying His principles to our marriage, things began to change. . . oh, how they changed for the better.  We know the difference He can make make in a marriage and that is the reason we do this ministry today.  David and I began our spiritual journey together and for that I’m grateful.  However, if one person is willing to make a true heart change with the Lord’s help, often things can turn around.  See when you change, the marriage can change.  To begin though you have to lose the “My spouse is the problem and when he or she changes things will get better” mentality.  There is no doubt your spouse has issues too, but one must understand that the only thing you can change is yourself.  Easy? No.  Possible? Yes.