Oh, The Questions We Ask!
By Debby Gullery
“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” – Leo Babauta
We all know that our thoughts have power, so it stands to reason that one of the best things we can do for our marriages is to pay attention to them! I’d like to take that idea a step further and suggest that we also look at the questions we ask ourselves because our questions reveal a great deal about the way we’re thinking!
For example, one of the most common questions we ask ourselves when we’re upset with our partners is this: Why is he or she doing this to me? The problem with this question is that it implies several things that may or may not be true. The first implication is that our partner is doing what they are doing on purpose just to upset us. And if we assume this, it’s really hard to have a good attitude towards them!
The second implication it implies is that they are aware of how much they are upsetting us, and this is rarely the case. And the third implication is that we might assume that our partners are to blame for the way we are feeling! This assumption can be dangerous and deflects our attention away from what really matters and what we actually have control over – our reactions!
What would happen if instead, we asked ourselves, “What can I learn about myself and the way I’m reacting to this?”, or “Why am I having such strong feelings about what my partner is doing?” Both of these questions puts the responsibility where it belongs – with us – and provides us with a beginning point for creating change and taking responsibility.
If we are trying to become the best version of ourselves, and trying to help our partners accomplish the same, then the questions we ask have to be different. And if we can take a moment to think before we speak whenever we get triggered or upset with our partners that can make a huge difference too. I’d like to suggest one more potent question that I believe has the power to change our perspective and the quality of our Interactions. Here it is……
Since I am trying to live in accordance with my core values, what should or could I say right now?”
Try it and see what happens!
Smart questions to ask yourself regularly:
- How can I create a safe environment for my spouse?
- What does my partner need to feel their value right now?
- Will what I am about to say or do, uplift my partner or not?
- Since I am trying to live in accord with my best self, or my core values, what could or should I say right now?
This article is adapted from Debby’s book, Small Steps to Bigger Love, which is available through HSA Publications and on Amazon. It includes a study guide for small group use. Debby is also available for couple coaching and workshops and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at debbygullery.com.