Being able to tell people what you need, rather than expecting them to read your mind, is a sign of maturity.
When I read this statement a few months back, it really struck me. I was in a season of very busy, and looking back, I realize now my communication skills were severely lacking. I expected my husband and my kids to read my mind. I needed help and I expected them to look around, see what needed to be done, and do it without any communication on my part. I guess you could say my mindset was quite immature.
But God. He is so good. He saw my lack of communication was more from exhaustion than from trying to be difficult. He saw how much I needed help and gave me a family that loves me through good seasons and difficult seasons. And He gave me a husband who models grace and unconditional love.
I guess the turning point started when I sought God’s wisdom first. I told Him what my problem was, what I needed, and gave Him my hurt feelings. Then I prayed asking for wisdom to know how to approach getting my needs met without sounding selfish or demanding. I knew I wasn’t the only one in my family who was busy. I didn’t want to add more to their plates, but I couldn’t keep adding things to mine either.
Turns out, we didn’t need to add more things to any of our plates, we just needed to rearrange the plates. There were some things I was doing that others could do better. There were things they were doing that I could do better. Whether because of skill sets or schedules, when we started communicating with each other what was needed, our house ran smoother.
As our school schedule shifted over to a summer schedule, I asked God how to create a smooth transition for all of us. We were integrating a “gone to college during the year adult, a new high school graduate, and a middle schooler,” each at a different stage in life. I wanted to give the proper respect to the adult children while still maintaining the “we’re family, we all work together to keep this house running” mentality. I didn’t want anyone feeling as though they were only appreciated for the work they do, and I wanted to allow plenty of time for everyone to figure out their own schedule while still making sure the house stayed running well.
Again, I went to God and He had the best solution. I presented the idea to the family and so far, things are going fairly well. We have our moments where more communication is needed, but overall, we’re able to express what we need and then someone steps up and helps. Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes it’s their dad. Sometimes it’s one of them.
Our family has always worked really well together. That’s one of the many things I love about us – we work together to accomplish family projects and we work well together serving others. My husband, and myself, also make sure to reward our kids’ hard work with plenty of fun.
I’m glad I worked on my communication skills before this summer. It’s made our time together much more enjoyable than it could have been. Isn’t there a saying about a “nagging wife is like a dripping faucet?” I sure don’t want to be that dripping faucet as a wife, or mom.
© Cheri Swalwell 2021