Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do the Hokey-Pokey

We all know that childhood song where you put your right foot in and out and shake it all about.  Eventually,by the end of the song, you end up dizzy and breathless on the floor.  In the ProlificMom house we have our own version, and it made my life and my marriage a little bit easier.

Going way back…First, Gary Smalley wrote a book Keyes to Loving Relationships


  It  explains that an important key to a good marriage is good communication, and every person has their own communication style and language.  Its difficult to have a meaningful discussion with someone who doesn’t speak the same language.   Its even more  challenging  if you’re trying to communicate what you want someone else to do.  You need to make sure that you are speaking their language or they are not going to get it.  In marriage there are often many (mis)communication challenges that usually end with someone saying “you just don’t listen to me” or “you just don’t get it.”  Once I understood the communication gap I started figuring out how to get what I wanted by using an entirely new set of tools.  ( I wish they would have taught me about this important piece of information in college.)

Marriage – Year Five:  So, the Mister and I were finding it ‘stressful’ to discuss the laundry.  Actually, I would call the Mister from work and ask him to take the clothes out of the dryer.  And just like I asked, he would take the clothes out of the dryer and that was all.   I was constantly infuriated because he didn’t take the clothes out of the wash and put them in the dryer after taking the clothes out of the dryer, then take dirty laundry and start the wash.  Why wasn’t he listening to me?!!!  We had been arguing about this for years and he still didn’t get it that when I asked for him to “take the clothes out of the dryer” I wanted him to do the full laundry cycle.   Why did I have to explain the full cycle of laundry every time I wanted his help?

ProlificMom said:  “Take the clothes out of the dryer – interpretation: Do the full laundry cycle.

What the Mister heard: “Take the clothes out of the dryer. – interpretation: Take the clothes out of the dryer.

Then, one day, I realized that we had a communication gap.  He couldn’t read my mind and I didn’t like having have the patience to explain the process in detail every time I wanted it done.  Four years after watching the video series (I’m a little bit slow on the uptake.) the light bulb came on!  We weren’t speaking the same language.  This occurred to me at work after calling the Mister at home to once again ask argue about the laundry.  I just couldn’t stand the thought of wasting my energy on something so small or stupid.  That was the a-hah! moment.  I needed to find a word that I could use to define the entire process.  So, I called the Mister and told him that I didn’t ever want us to argue about the laundry again, and I was going to think of a word that we could use to define the entire laundry process.  Any time one of us used the word the other one would know exactly what to do. Then I had to figure out what the word would be.  An hour later I had it – the perfect word to describe the process – DO THE HOKEY POKEY! 

Eleven years later, (marriage year 16) everyone in my house knows what this term means and we also use it to define loading and unloading the dishwasher.  To differentiate we say “do the hokey pokey in the kitchen”.

This is only one small victory in the communication battleground of marriage, but a victory for sure.

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