One evening when my husband came home, he was feeling really down. I could see it in his eyes that he was at the end of his rope. I asked if he wanted some listening time. He smiled incredulously and said he didn’t think it would work. I asked what was the worst that could happen, and he said, “Nothing.”
“Ok, then let’s let nothing happen,” I said.
He seemed somewhat more relaxed and started talking about his day, and his work. He felt exhausted and angry he couldn’t find ways to enjoy it as he used to. I just listened and held his hand. At some point he began to cry and say he didn’t have enough time to spend with us or to relax. I allowed him to keep going for a while and then asked what would he do if he had all the time in the world to devote to family and relaxing. As he told me he felt more relaxed and confident. His face was brighter and his spirit was visibly up.
After we finished he went in the living room and had this amazing roughhousing session with our three kids. He usually avoids playing with the kids because he feels rejected by them since he doesn’t have the chance to spend a lot of time with them. Or when he plays he’s stiff and grouchy. And gets angry easily when they accidentally hurt him.
But that evening was amazing. He found the power to roughhouse with them and really enjoy it. Also, the kids got a chance to really connect with their dad and the effects were visible. They came to dinner feeling happy, washed their hands without complaining, and put their dishes in the sink as if it was the most natural thing ever.
Learn how you can let go of stress and have more energy to enjoy your family.
Irina Nichifiriuc is from Romania and is in the Hand In Hand Instructor Certification Program.
You can connect with her on Facebook.
Irina discusses more about Listening partnerships on her bilingual Romanian-English site.