Getting on the Same Page


"So we are all in agreement here, right?"
“So we are all in agreement here, right?”

Getting on the Same Page

The human mind is a wonderful thing, but everyone has one of his or her own and each one interprets things the way it sees fit based on previous experience, genetics, levels of stress, levels of sleep, etc. Let’s take a look into how putting two or more brains together to reach a common goal can be a very messy business….

As co-workers:

I have been working with people on a daily basis and let me tell you what, it is hard to work with the general public in any capacity! Whether it is; sales, education, customer service, bagging groceries, etc., you will interact with a few crazies every now and then. The crazy people are actually not the hardest for me to handle, because I can generally not take offense to what they are saying, I can dismiss it with the thought that “Um, yeah, they’re crazy, it doesn’t matter…” What I get disturbed by is the little mistakes and mishaps and misinterpretations that occur just naturally when you work with a large number of people… the things that I cannot control. Yes, for anyone who reads my posts regularly, I think we have established that I am a control freak…moving on…

In our meetings at work we constantly strive to “get on the same page” and review and explain processes and policies and procedures over and over. While sometimes review meetings can seem boring, there are times when there are about 4 different interpretations of the same policy or procedure, so it is a good thing that we discussed it in further detail and clarified what it means. Many people in the meetings argue that we all have different viewpoints and are not going to see everything the same way. I find myself frequently reminding everyone that policies and procedures in the workplace are not optional, they are required, and if we are not all on the same page, then we need to review them and get on the same page quickly for the sake of our company. Stress levels are higher at work during busy times, of course, so we try to have these conversations during the slow times of the year. This prevents many fist fights in the break room, I’m sure!

As a spouse:

If you are married, I’m sure that you have experienced this with your spouse. My husband and I will have a “budgeting date” (that’s what we call it to fake ourselves into thinking it will be fun and not skipping out:) in which we have to “get on the same page” with our finances and it sometimes turns into heated discussions. Sometimes it is about what to spend money on, sometimes it is just about the pure math of budgeting. I have recently learned that I should not budget on only 6 hours of sleep after a long hard Monday when all I want to do is go back to sleep. I got easily offended when he wanted to double check my work after balancing the checkbook and finding something off between out bank statement and our checkbook. However, I would have probably done the same thing if he was the one balancing the checkbook. I can fully understand, a day later, that he had good intentions and just wanted to balance the budget and get things straight, but in the heat of the moment, when the chocolate had run out and the math was staring me in the face, I got so ticked I wanted to scream at him and prove him wrong. My brain then told me “hey – it must be his fault – he didn’t do his part right – I always do it right”. My heart said “Okay, let’s take a step back, he always has good intentions.” Then my brain told my heart to shut up and leave the room and I started yelling and crying and getting offended at his words and assuming ill-intentions. I know – that escalated quickly right? My husband’s face alerted me to my overreaction instantly.

If you haven’t had a discussion like this with your spouse over budgeting, perhaps it was a different weak point for you. Regardless, it ended up being my fault. I had entered a bill into our checkbook twice which made our numbers in our checkbook off by close to $250 and once we found it, I felt horrible. I am a stubborn woman, so I did not admit that it was all my fault right away. But my husband is a patient man, thank God! He did not fight me about it. He told me that he knows it is stressful for me and that it’s okay to get upset and then work through it together. I melted into a puddle before him and apologized and then went to bed shortly after. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I let my emotions get the best of me? As usual, we reconciled our differences quickly, but I can see how this could have spiraled into a horrible feud due to my stubborn attitude.

As a parent:

Do you remember hearing the phrase “Because I said so!” from your parents as an explanation as to why you are not allowed to do something? I remember this clearly and I remember thinking it was nonsense. I kept thinking “What is so wrong with you telling me the truth? I deserve an answer, for crying out loud!” Well, now I am on the other side, and I have definitely used this phrase more than once. It is so hard to explain to a 2 year old why mommy has to make dinner instead of play cars with him. It is so hard to explain to a 6 year old why sometimes we have to do homework even when we don’t want to. It is so hard to explain to both of them why mommy needs a time out now and then, too, but mommy enjoys time outs and frequently takes chocolate with her to the time out corner. Therefore, sometimes, it is much easier and much more productive to tell both of them “Because I said so” when they ask “why ?” for the 100th time about the same issue. Getting on the Same Page as your child does not always mean that they agree with you. It does mean that you have an understanding that you are the parent and they must obey the rules while in your house, even if they don’t understand the rules. This is good training for teaching them how to submit to a boss in the future. I have learned that I have to choose my battles with my kids so that they will enjoy some time with mommy and not always be fighting with mommy.

If you have a misunderstanding about anything big or small, don’t worry. You have lots of company! We cannot let these little mishaps ruin our families, our work, our relationships, etc. We need to keep reviewing, keep discussing, keep cooperating, and get past the tension until we get on the same page with each other.

Matthew 18:21-23NIV Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.”




Top 10 phrases Husbands should avoid:

Hey everybody!

I am going to preface this with a disclaimer.  Not all men are like typical men. Not all women are like typical women. I understand that,  and sometimes these things depend on personalities, which could vary among married couples. The phrases I am going to refer to are some major phrases that I know have caused fights in either my house or in the houses of women I know. In general, they are going to apply for a lot of married couples. I am by no means a marriage expert! My husband and I are almost to the ten year point and we are far from perfect, but we improve each year!

Listen up all of you husbands out there who can not figure out what you said wrong! I plan on having my hubby chime in on a future post about words of advice to  wives (what they should not say to their hubbies)…….

The top 10 phrases husbands should avoid to maintain a peaceful household: Followed by alternate phrases that you can use – trust me – you’ll thank me later!

  1. Calm down

Honey, what can I do to help you? I can tell that something is wrong.

I don’t think the phrase “calm down” works on anyone, especially those who need to calm down. In my house it is a definite guarantee to have the opposite affect on me! Don’t try to show that you are superior in your “calm” state. Show her that you are concerned for her and want to help. It takes the pressure off of her and actually gives her the chance she needs to calm down.

2. It doesn’t matter what they think / It’s not personal, it’s just business

         *I know that offended you and I’m sorry that happened! They had no right to say/do that to you!

It may not matter to you what someone else’s opinion is, but if she is upset by it,   it matters to her. When your wife or significant other comes to you complaining about how someone offended her or did something wrong to her, she does not want you to excuse it away as “just business” so that you can avoid discussing anything remotely related to feelings (yes – this is obvious in many cases). She also does not necessarily want you to fix the problem because sometimes there is no way you can fix it. She wants you to either get offended with her and show that you support her or just comfort her even if you don’t understand it.

3. That’s not how you do it.

          *Can I try something to help you?

Proving to your wife that you know more than her or are stronger than her is not the way to win her heart – especially if she has been trying at something for a long time and you walk in and fix it with little effort. It is frustrating. Try to soften the blow by showing that you are trying to be helpful – not cocky!

4. Now I know what giving birth feels like!

* I am in so much pain!

Avoid the attempt at any comparison with child-birth, trust me! Yes, I get it, constipation (or whatever it is) is painful, but you did not hold that poop in your body for 9-10 months with a wide range of side-effects including loss of sleep, loss of bodily functions, unreasonable cravings, uncomfortable clothing most of the time, and the inability to have certain things you normally turn to for comfort (coffee/alcohol/lunch meat/fish – for me it was coffee and red meat). All women are different, but if your wife has ever been in labor, you have no grounds to compare your pain of any kind to the child labor that she went through. You are likely to get a swift kick in the pants or a frying pan to the head if you push the issue…

5. Do you really need chocolate that bad?  (if your wife does not crave chocolate – insert what she craves to replace chocolate)

*What kind of chocolate would you like and when? (If your wife is pregnant – it is extremely important that you be flexible and willing to meet her craving needs. After all – she is working overtime making a child for you!)

I’m going to address this absurd question with a question that may seem absurd to most guys: Do you really need sex that bad? Just like the way sex is for most guys, that’s the way the chocolate cravings are for most girls – (at least myself and the girls that I know). It’s sometimes a mental thing, sometimes an actual physical need. For me, this depends on the time of the month – not sure about other women. If I do not give in to my chocolate cravings early on when PMS hits – there is a rage that wells up inside of me that overtakes my normally kind demeanor and replaces my head with that of a roaring lion seeking it’s prey. Speak with my husband if you need details – but they are not pretty….

6. I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to lose weight.

   * I love you the way that you are, but if you want to get healthy, I support your decision.  

First let me state that my husband has never uttered this comment because he is a wise man! While to some men this will be an obvious “no-no”, others may not be aware, so I wanted it stated for the record. This is not some made up excuse for women to lounge around eating bon bons and rack up the pounds while their men go to work. It is a known fact that it takes more effort for women to lose weight because women’s bodies were designed for child-bearing and the fat storing that goes along with pregnancy and breast-feeding. Whether your wife has had babies or not, her body was built this way. If you don’t believe me, you can view many articles on this topic: here is one example:

I am a big supporter of getting to a healthy weight, but your wife will not get there by you making her feel guilty for something that is not necessarily her fault. If she needs to lose weight, she would be the one to make the decision and the conscious effort to lose weight, but will also need support from you. This is especially true if her weight gain was due to having babies. It will be hard, but she is more likely to reach her weight loss goals if she has you cheering her on instead of cutting her down!

7. Can’t you just relax?

*Does that make you feel relaxed?

I can vividly remember a conversation that Sam (my hubby) and I had one night while relaxing in front of the TV. He was sitting there with a snack watching the show. I was sitting next to him with a drink, a magazine, and my phone. I was going back and forth between my phone (probably on Facebook or Pinterest), the magazine, and watching the TV show. He said “Honey, why can’t you just relax, like me?”.  I had to gently remind him that what I was doing was relaxing to me because I am a multi-tasker by nature. If I sit down to just watch TV and do nothing else, I will either fall asleep, or I will get up and look for something else to do because I am a “git ‘er done” person. At first he didn’t believe me. After almost 10 years of marriage, he has seen this played out many times and now believes me and understands that my brain is always going. I need to keep doing something.  Sitting still, but doing a few enjoyable things at the same time, is my idea of relaxing. We make it into a game when we have to fold clothes now. We have “folding parties”, which means that I want him to help me fold clothes and he wants me to sit and relax with him so we fold clothes while we watch a show and we are both happy :).

8. It’s okay for the kids to stay up late, right? (as the kids are standing there)

*Honey can we talk about something? (Move to another room away from the kids) What do you think about letting them stay up late since they don’t have school tomorrow and their homework is all done? 

If you assume that your wife is okay with something and act that way in front of the kids, then she has to be the bad guy if, by chance, there is some other factor that you did not think about and the kids really do need to get to bed on time. For instance, what if there is an early dr. or dentist apt. the next day or what if you did not remember  that you signed up to help out at the church early on a Sunday morning and the whole family has to be there at 8 am because you are riding together? Then when mom brings up these things that were forgotten by dear old daddy, mommy looks like the bad guy and daddy is the fun-loving daddy who is just following mommy’s orders reluctantly when he says “Okay guys, I wanted to let you stay up late, but you heard your mother”. That is exactly the way to start allowing your kids to disrespect their mom. It is also a good way for you to not have any fun in the bedroom that night! Oops – that one slipped out…..

9. There’s nothing wrong. You’re just being paranoid.

*I don’t think there is anything wrong, but let me check it out just to be sure….

This could apply to your wife thinking there is a burglar in the house, a funny noise downstairs that could be the washer, or could be the furnace leaking again, etc. You telling your wife that she is being paranoid does not stop her from being paranoid. It, in fact, has the opposite effect. She starts thinking of what potential weapon she could grab if the burglar comes in the bedroom and her husband is still sleeping peacefully beside her while she fends for herself. “Do we still have that old baseball bat somewhere in here? I wonder if this lamp would knock someone out. Well  – the windows might open pretty quickly, but then I’d have to come back in to get the kids, and my husband if he is still sleeping. “10:30pm turns into 2:00 am and then guess who wakes up with Junior at 3:00 am when he wets the bed, again? You do, because your wife finally got to sleep and is not budging until her alarm wakes her up in 2.5 hours. It is best for everyone involved if you just take two minutes to check on something to make her feel better.

10. (During or after a fight) Why don’t we just have sex to make us feel better?

* What can we do to make this right?

Just a hint about the sex issue: If your wife is still mad at you (if you have not apologized if you screwed up), if she is like most women, she can not possibly be turned on by you at the same time! Yes, most of the time both of you are at fault in some way. You need to completely resolve the issue before there is any chance of doing the horizontal polka! For most men, sex is almost all physical and they can still get aroused by their spouse even if they have been disagreeing or fighting. For most women, sex is physical AND emotional. She has to feel close to you, respect you, and feel loved by you before she is capable of making herself vulnerable to you again. If you don’t believe me, ask your wife to be straight forward with you about this issue. For my husband and I, we know that we have to have everything out in the open, no grudges and no current arguments before any activity in the bedroom. This usually motivates my husband to be the first to say “I’m sorry” and we have to hash out why he is sorry. Sometimes he does this even when he was not the one at fault – which makes me respect him even more! I know why he is generally the first to say this and I am fine with it. I am admittedly stubborn when it comes to making up after a fight. Thank God, he made us differently, and knew that one of us had to be slow to anger and quick to forgive! Sam knows what I need and I an always thankful that he calms me, encourages me, and builds me back up when I am down. Forgiveness does not come easily to everyone, but there is always a way to make amends if both spouses are willing to get there and work for it! I have come to learn that if I forgive sooner, like I know that I will eventually, I can get through the guilt and the stress much faster and easier! Find out what works for you and just keep trying!

Go check out Ephesians 5:21-33 for details about God’s intentions for marriage.

Blessings in your marriage and in life!