Over the years of dating and marriage, Chris and I have had our fair share of "tough" conversations. Especially, it seems, as we've navigated law school and our careers – it's as if every six months, we need to sit down and talk about what big decision is coming up next. At first, these talks felt exciting. They were bonding experiences, showing us how we handle the hills and valleys of life together, and proving our commitment. Then, they slowly became more scary. After getting married and settling (somewhat) into a routine, these talks felt unwelcome.
We recently found a new way to approach these talks by turning them into something more fun for us. If one of us has something we need to talk about, instead of barraging the other with a long text or email, we will just text them and say, "Family meeting tonight?" Then the other can reply "yes" or state why they can't tonight, but suggest another evening as soon as possible. The meeting itself? We go for a walk.
Since getting our pup, Penny, walks have become a constant part of our routine, and with the weather getting so wonderful, they're insanely perfect for long chats. I know the day will come all too soon that it will be hot, but Penny will still need walks :) Because we're not eye-to-eye at a table across from each other – such confrontational body language! – we're instead walking side-by-side, talking things out. Not having to make eye contact eases the pressure, and there's something about moving forward next to each other. We feel as if we're both working to find a solution to the situation as a team. You know how sometimes when you're upset, you feel as if you just need to walk around the block to take off steam? That same feeling comes into play here. Walking itself is an instant relaxer.
These walks have helped change my perspective and be less defensive in tough conversations. I've seen myself ease up and become more open-minded, and offer more honest feedback. I especially love the way they've reminded both Chris and I that we are a team, and we both want to find a God-honoring solution. Plus, a little extra sunshine doesn't hurt either :)
What about you? Do you have "family meetings"? Would you take your tough talks on a walk?