If you were in listening proximity to Pastor Mike’s message this past weekend you are probably in some way trolling on our HAPPILY EVER AFTER? marriage message series @Ginghamsburg. It’s been widely popular and we can only imagine it is ringing a bell (sorry) for many couples – older, youngish and somewhere in between.
Our Ginghamsburg Worship Team still meets each Wednesday to dream and design weekend worship messages. So…last week when we’d just about wrapped up the “sermon chat” portion of our meeting, I remarked that Mike had a stellar WORD for the weekend but that people might need HANDLES for pursuing increased emotional intimacy in their relationships. Not LOVE HANDLES, but sticky points to make the message memorable along with a few tangible next steps to take.
To which Mike said, “Like what? – do YOU have any examples?”
I did. Our family calls it Cherries & Pits. You might know it as Highs & Lows but basically it’s just a dinnertime conversation-creater guaranteed to help facilitate even the blankest of brain exchanges. Early on Clark and I discovered that questions like “How was your day?” solicited barely a one-word response from our otherwise talkative children: FINE. Or FINE’s equally clueless twin, GOOD. So we would try our best to ask questions that required more than one-word answers, but it was always a bit of a chore.
Our daughter Heidi is now grown and together with Andy have two girls of their own. Amari is the older at five, and let’s just say HISTORIC DETAILS are not Amari’s thing. She prefers to think forward and often seems to forget what happened that very day. So much like the family she was born into… So one day Heidi happened to read a blog suggesting this Cherry & Pit dialog and BAM! It’s a deal. Here’s the drill:
1. Eat dinner together (OH SO important!)
2. Start the C&P discussion
3. Make sure EVERYONE gets time to respond… “What was the worst part of your day?” And then, “What was the best part of your day?”
(Hint: listen WELL – creating safe space for further dialog. No judgements. NO sermonizing. You get it.)
The great result is that now Amari’s empty nester GrammieK and Papa have learned to cultivate incredible communication each evening by pursuing the very same practice. Great questions really are the key to fascinating conversation. Come to think of it, my favorite coffee friends are the ones who’ve learned to ask me the best life-prodding questions.
We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong. – Bono
What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question. – Jonas Salk
Seriously, if you have EVER thought you already knew everything about your spouse, give this a try. AND if you EVER, EVER thought he/she had mysteriously become just a wee bit boring – give this a try.
ASK and LISTEN.
And grow a little bit closer over dinner.