You and I both learned an important lesson in life at a very early age:
We see the need to teach it whenever we’re around children. One is playing with a toy, when another child comes along and grabs it because he wants to play with it. The first child cries or reacts in anger as she grabs the toy back, and a fight quickly ensues. As fast as we can, we jump in between the children and say: “you guys need to take turns!”
The same is true for you and I in our marriages.
With your spouse:
Tonight when you greet each other, take turns sharing about the day. Don’t be so eager to tell about your day that you cut the other person off in the middle of them telling about their’s. Listen intently instead. By doing so you are showing your spouse both love and respect and deepening connection.
With your kids:
Practice with your children as well. Give your full attention to them when you see them after school. Then ask them for a few moments of their time and attention as you share with them some about your day too. Being deliberate to do this will teach your children the importance of focusing on others. By doing so you are training them how “taking turns” in relationships will increase their connections with family, friends and one day their future mate.
When in conflict:
Perhaps no where is the need to take turns more apparent, than when in conflict. It is a must. Each person is angry or hurt for some reason. Critical to solving that conflict is the act of giving each other an opportunity to share their side, while we listen to truly understand and appreciate their perspective.
So today and this weekend – practice and model “taking turns” when in dialogue with your spouse and children.
It will deepen your connections!
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