On a recent road trip, my husband and I were going over our Bible study together. We were talking about communication and the importance of giving the other the freedom to share their thoughts and ideas openly.
Sometimes without meaning to, spouses can unintentionally squelch each other’s ideas by a flippant comment. We may cut a conversation shorter because of our spouse’s response. Occasionally, this can make either of us move on from a potentially neat thought.
As a couple, we could even take ideas to the “next level” together in a way that could make it work because two heads are often better than one. However, that won’t happen if we drop the topic because it was not considered or received well.
As we talked, I thought about and shared an acronym used at a conference that I attended each year before my retirement. My role at the conference was to facilitate a table of attendees that were brainstorming to find a variety of workplace solutions.
Each year, we had a little rubber duck at the table with a tag that said D.U.C.K – Don’t Use Conversation Killers. The goal was to keep ideas and communication flowing rather that squelch them. (Even those that needed a little fine tuning…)
If someone shared an idea and someone else said that will never work, that’s not in the budget or what a dumb idea, then we’d pass them the D.U.C.K. as a reminder to not deter ideas but keep them flowing instead. The little duck we passed around was a fun, silly reminder to help our group stay on track by communicating and listening well.
I explained the above scenario to my husband. Just like at the conference, we can use conversation killers in our homes.
I love to listen to ideas and thoughts that Sean shares. However, my response comes out too quickly at times and sucks the life out of our conversation and deflates him in the process.
For example, if I dismiss his thought or say that it won’t work for whatever reason, then he will most likely drop it and sometimes feel like I wasn’t interested or didn’t care about the idea. What if my approach was to ask questions and perhaps help him shape the idea into a workable plan for our home?
Examples of marriage conversation killers:
- That will never work.
- Why would you even suggest that?
- That is a bad idea.
- We won’t ever have the money for that.
- I’m too busy to take that on.
- Absolutely not.
How about instead of a fast response back, we tried being open to ideas, ask questions and help facilitate conversations with our spouse. The bottom line may still be the same and the idea may not work. However, exploring the option and validating the idea with discussion will go a long way with communication.
I don’t like the idea of squelching Sean’s creativity or having him ignore mine. What’ the worst that could happen by listening, a bit? We’d have a thought provoking and potentially solution-oriented conversation together. (Works for me!)
Hopefully, the D.U.C.K acronym will help you too. Since we always look for ways to communicate better, I hope this one will help us to have fewer conversation killers and more sharing opportunities.