Living together with 7 personalities in our little house is B I G and H A R D at times. Notice that I don't say that it "can be" hard.
It IS hard.
Ask me how I know this ;)
It's easy for things to fall apart and they often do.
It's a given.
Trials, challenges, difficulties, arguments, lost tempers, expressions of anger, impatience, unkindness....these things happen here like I'm betting they do in your home.
And why wouldn't they?
Homes have people all growing and stretching towards finding their own way in the world whilst all trying to share a physical space. With 'home' also comes the idea that we feel safest here and therefore can let it all hang out...we can be vulnerable, let down our guard and let out our true feelings. Well that's the hope isn't it? Add to that financial strains, employment struggles, unmet needs, dreams that have had to be let go of, sickness or pain or any number of other things and you really can easily get on each other's nerves. Am I right?
With the desire of creating home as a safe place often comes the territory of home being a messy place: a place where BECAUSE we are letting our guard, sometimes hurtful things are said. Sometimes we are most careless with those closest to us (or is that just me?)
SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT ALL FALLS APART?
You do the repair work.
We do the repair work.
Here are a few simple suggestions of what 'repair work' can look like and has looked like for our family. Do whatever works for you of course. This is just me sharing with you. Take from it what you will.
1. CHOOSE A CALM TIME AND TALK ABOUT IT
Yep I know. Not rocket science but it actually took me years to learn to NOT talk about it in the heat of the moment. Even now I struggle with it. I really wrestle with the notion of not having things resolved as quickly as I would like but I have to respect that not everyone wants to talk about things or work on things as soon as I do and heck there are times when I don't want to talk about things straight away. I always appreciate people not pushing me and respecting my pace and so I have really tried to learn the importance of doing this back for others.
2. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PART: YOU CAN BE RIGHT AND STILL WRONG
Sometimes we might be right in our argument or position but wrong in our delivery. Sometimes we hurt people unintentionally. I always appreciate when someone apologies and says, "I can see that my words hurt you but that was not my intention. I'm sorry for that." That sounds so different to, "I'm sorry you took it the wrong way!" We can only acknowledge our own part. The first response says, "I see you and the hurt that my words or actions played" whereas the latter says, "YOU are the reason you are upset!"
3. ASK 'WHAT COULD WE DO DIFFERENTLY TO AVOID THIS NEXT TIME?"
We have used different versions of this wording over the years and it has helped immensely. However you word it, we like this because it involves thinking back to the incident and thinking forward to help avoid the situation from occurring again (of course there are no guarantees!) It also helps to own the behaviour and continue the (hopefully!) calm dialogue about the issue.
4. FORGIVE AND RESTORE
Forgiveness is so important and knowing that we have been forgiven has been as equally important to us in being able to move forward. Of course forgiveness does not mean that you forget about it all and all of a sudden you are singing songs holding hands! It is hard work to not continually remind the other person of their past mistakes but we love the verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that says, "Love keeps no record of wrongs". It's a challenge to us to not keep bringing up the past, not rubbing each other's faces in the "but you ALWAYS do this..." kind of jibe. It's hard but it's worth it.
5. REMEMBER YOUR DOMINANT STORY
We owe it to ourselves and our families to continue to move forward each day in love. Sometimes it feels so difficult but we must remember to keep working on our dominant story. Our dominant story is one of relationship. Relationships get broken and need repair work at times. Don't let one incident tell you that your life will never be the same again because you had a cross word and lost your temper. Of course I'm not advocating for abuse or violence and no one wants to lose it with their kids or spouse (we know it doesn't feel good) but it happens sometimes. If it does happen, keep remembering that what your dominant story is and try and do something that aligns with that. I hope something I've shared here from our own family experiences helps encourage you in your own. We are all works in progress.
If you've had a rough one today, rest easy. Hugs, Lusi x