Lee and I are always looking for ways to communicate better, especially in the midst of a disagreement. So when Lee returned from a men’s retreat, he was just bursting at the seams with ideas on how we could fully resolve any issue with no hurt feelings or tears (on my part since my emotions all tend to come out of my eyes). It sounded great when he told me that all we would have to do is the following:
* State the facts about the issue
* State how it made us feel
* Say what it would take for us to feel resolved
This is called Clearing (you know, as in clearing the air). Sounds so easy, right? For men, yes, we know it works as evidenced by Lee’s experiences on his retreat. However, it being untested as of yet (as far we know) with women, it occurred to me to say…”This sounds like a great idea, and I am so willing to try it out next time we’re in an argument…however, I’m not sure it would work well for me…or any woman…”
A little back story…
We watched “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” in 2010 and one of the things that we learned is men focus on one thing at a time – they have the uncanny superpower of being able to put things that are bothering them in a box and forget about it until it is brought up again. For women, it seems to be a little different, but if there is something that is bothering a woman, it will be connected to every thought she has regardless of it’s bearing on the current situation…(so yeah, we’re multitaskers!)
With that being said…we decided to have a “Clearing” session right then and there on an argument that we had already resolved to see how we could have done better, which seemed like a good idea at the time! Lee led out with his facts (which I agreed with – but wasn’t allowed to say at the time because it wasn’t my turn yet…), then with how it made him feel, and then what he needed for a resolution. Keep in mind that by this time, I’ve already started to say my part about 50 times, so when it was finally my turn I really went for it. I made sure that he knew that I agreed with him on the facts, and then I got into my feelings…and that’s when we started to realize where the problem was with Clearing between men and women. I didn’t have just one feeling about this issue, I had 109,948 feelings that had all arisen from this situation and because this feeling was attached to that action which led to this other feeling…
When I finally came up for air, Lee looked like he’d been drowning for about the 10 years that I had been going over my feelings and I burst out laughing. After he got over his shock, he said “…well, you did warn me this could happen…” and burst out laughing, too.
The moral of the story is Clearing didn’t really work out too well for us the way that it was intended to, but it has left us with a good way to diffuse the situation when we’re in a disagreement. All one person has to say is “Want to try Clearing” and we end up laughing about it all over again.