Before the challenge started I posted a survey to get input from potential challenge participants. One comment I noticed many times was the stress people felt as their families were not on board with their attempts to simplify their life. I felt the mission statement challenge might be one of those times when the partner of the challenger might not be enthusiastic even though their input is essential. Since I knew Natalie had already been through the process of writing a mission statement with her husband I asked for her advice and how she went about things.
Please welcome Natalie Birt from Mummy Smiles to Home Life Simplified.
Do you ever feel like you and your partner are on the same page, but the words are written in a different language? Surprisingly this is a pretty common feeling among couples. There have been many books written about the different languages that men and women speak, and the different ways we express our thoughts and feelings.
So when it comes to discussing and planning something fairly significant – such as your Family Mission Statement, or Family goals – we need to be able to find ways in order to start talking the same language.
When I first start discussing goals and planning with Daddy Smiles, I see his eyes start to glaze over. I am sure in his head he starts thinking about the latest power tool while he smiles politely and remembers to nod every couple of minutes. Which kinda defeats the purpose of setting joint goals.
I need to start talking in his language. I stop using the “scary” words (life planning, goals, timeframes, measurability etc) and re-frame it into discussions that mean something to both of us. I ask him what he is most proud of about our children – and his answers tell me what values he holds most dear. We talk about winning the lotto and our conversation lets me in on some of his lifetime dreams – something that we can work towards as a family.
Often it can be hard for men to express exactly what they want to say, even if they know exactly how they feel. Try asking your partner why they go to work every day? Of course they will tell you it’s for the money – but money is just a concept. It has no value until it is spent. So what is important for your partner to spend money on? It might be about security for his family, maybe a hobby that he is passionate about, possibly the kids’ education? Let’s face it – we don’t go to work because we want to – we go to work because it is a way to get to where we want to be. Where does your partner want to BE?
Finally – LISTEN. This is really hard sometimes – especially when we have an idea of how we think the conversation should go. But if you REALLY listen, and be completely open to what you hear, you may be surprised at what goals and dreams your partner already has or is working towards.
And THAT is when you start speaking the same language!
Now that you understand his values, his goals, his dreams, think about how well they mesh with yours. Maybe they are similar, maybe they differ here and there. But they belong to both of you, and this is your opportunity to set in writing what matters most to your family. This is your path, your journey.
Make it amazing.
From Deb: If you have any questions for Nat or myself on this subject please ask in the comments.
Find your simple,
Guest Blogger Bio: “One morning I woke up and realised that our lives were rushing past our eyes. We were constantly doing, doing, doing. It’s so easy to immerse yourself so far into “life” that you can sometimes forget to just breathe. So this blog is my oxygen…..my breath. Every post reminds me that I am surrounded by things that make me happy. They may be small or large, silly or poignant, real or fantasy, cheap or expensive. But they make me smile. And they help me to breathe.”
Image credit: flickr user adwriter