Soak Your Dishes Before You Speak.
I enjoy going to other people’s homes for a nice evening of dinner and conversation. In the midst of a crazy schedule, where it is easy to say “I don’t have time,” I always feel filled up and blessed when around trusting friends.
After our time of conversation at the dinner table, it’s time to clean up. I’ll take my cues from the hostess. Do we leave the dishes at the table and adjourn to another room? Will she want to stack the dishes on the side of the sink on the counter? Will she quickly rinse them off and place them in the dishwasher (trying to not be too “Martha like.”) or….will she just leave them until the morning? Of course, I am not going to say anything, what kind of guest would I be?
Now, if I am entertaining guests, I would probably stack them on the counter, to be put in the dishwasher as soon as my guests leave. If for some reason they need to sit awhile I will definitely soak them. Why? Because they are so much easier to clean when the leftover food is soft….rinses right off. Make sense?
My thoughts are the same way. As I get older and see life a little differently, I feel I am getting more set in my ways. But in that same breath, I am really trying to survey “the thought” and try to see it from all different perspectives. As I “soak” in it sometimes my ridged ways soften. Other times it just affirms that what I am thinking is right on. But it gives me empathy and understanding for those that may have a difference of opinion.
In marriage, soaking a thought is really important. Before jumping down your spouse’s throat about forgetting to pick something up for you at the store, hold off and take a soak. In that soaking, ask yourself these questions:
- Was this intentional?
- Does this happen all the time?
- Is this a one-time event or a pattern?
- Did I communicate how important this was?
- Is this an unforgivable sin or just a lapse in memory?
- Is this a hill I will die on?
Soaking in these questions brings me clarity and discernment. Soaking myself in the Word of God can also bring incredible perspective and truth to any situation; even something as minor as forgetting an errand. It softens my heart and disposition as I am in the moment, eye to eye with my husband. It’s the little things that make a great marriage and it’s the little things that can really mess up a marriage. We always have a moment to choose. Now, that’s not to say that I won’t voice my disappointment and be honest with how I feel. But my delivery will be softer and will evoke an atmosphere of empathy and understanding (on both sides).
Sometimes I can say (or my husband will say to me), “I’ve been soaking in this awhile and need to talk with you about it. Or I might say, “I’ve been sitting in this…” Another verbiage we may use is, “I have a short account to settle with you”. That means that whatever is talked about has been “soaked” and thought through, not just flippantly thrown out there (which is how a lot of arguments start).
On a positive note, you can be soaking in all the great things that your spouse has done for you. “I haven’t said anything about this, but I really appreciate everything you do for our family. You are my hero”. What person would not want to hear that?
How often are we saying encouraging words of life to each other?
As much as this applies to your marriage, what about your kids? What about your step kids? I know I wish I would have soaked in my thoughts a little longer before I engaged my kids; even now that they are out of the house! This is doubly important if you have stepchildren. You may not have had the history with them to really understand where they are at. We, as step-parents underestimate that they may still be grieving the loss of their last family, traditions, schedules, and friends.
So the next time you see dishes (at a friend’s home or yours), that aren’t in the sink, that have crusty dry food on them, ask yourself, “Is there some area of my life that needs a good soaking; some area that needs my attention to soften my perspective?” Pull out the dish soap and get to work! Maybe you’ll see a few bubbles of hope and fun rise to the top!
Brenda Stuart is a wife, mom, business owner and life coach. She is passionate about people having healthy, vibrant, fun marriages…especially in stepfamilies! Check out more blogs from her at http://www.restoredandremarried.com/blog.html.