Once a month I meet 3 of my best friends and soul sister and we talk about everything under the sun.
From favorite lipsticks and TV shows to nasty bosses, their kids’ latest adventures, our dream travels and our most painful memories. We talk about it, cleanse it, heal it, shower some love on it and laugh and eat and hug.
I look forward to our meetings every month.
But basically, just because my hubby does not want to hear about my obsession with Maybelline Super Stay 24 hour lip color doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely, positively need to talk about it at length with someone who does. (By the way, it stays on no matter what you do to it. Amazing. And yes, I totally have a crush on a lipstick. The world can be harsh. Lipstick is happy. Deal with it.)
This week our meeting turned to asking for what we want for both little things and big things.
We all have disastrous examples of when we ignored our inner voice, didn’t speak up and didn’t ask for what we wanted or needed.
Hopefully a lot of us also have examples of when we realized what we deeply wanted in our soul and then found a way to ask for it and it turned out even better than we imagined.
One of my favorite Oprah Quotes is, “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for.’ I have it printed on my bulletin board in my office. I keep it as a reminder that to get the things I want, I need to ask for them.
As we talked about asking for what we wanted, one of my brilliant girlfriends asked, “Why don’t you ask sooner? Before you are mad? Wouldn’t that work better?” which led to a whole conversation about how we ask for things and different ways to ask for things.
In marriage we are constantly asking for the time and attention of the person we love most in this world. And they are asking us for the same.
When we stop asking, relationships disintegrate. So this exchange of time and attention is really critical not only to a marriage that stays together but to a marriage that stays happily, thrivingly together.
Pondering this, I realized there are basically two ways to ask for things.
The Hard Way and The Courageous Way.
Let’s review shall we?
The Hard Way – instead of asking for what we want, clearly, at the moment we realize we want it, we wait, we stew, we think the other person should know what we want in the first place and why should we be asking for it when it’s so obvious, we let resentment and frustration build up and then when we finally ask, it sounds much more like a demand than a request.
When was the last time you happily said, “Yes! I would be delighted to do that!” In response to a demand?
Okay then, so then we make a demand and are absolutely gutted when the other person doesn’t start skipping and jumping in joy to say yes and we wonder why we never get what we want….
Does any of this sound familiar?
And no, I don’t have listening devices in your house, that would be totally creepy. It’s just we ALL go through the same things. Really. We do.
So, the hard way basically gets us nowhere, but oftentimes it’s the only way we know and we honestly have no idea what to do instead….
This brings us to…
The Courageous Way – to ask for what we want and (often) get it.
The Courageous Way requires us to be uncomfortable, first by acknowledging we want something and second by asking for it before it becomes a crisis.
When we ask for something the courageous way we are expressing vulnerability. We are opening our hearts to possible rejection and disappointment.
The courageous way to ask for something isn’t complicated. We just ask. Without anger or frustration, possibly with hope and positive expectation or at the very least with an open heart.
Here is an example of the courageous way to ask for what we want that I shared with my soul sisters yesterday.
When we first got married we had a hard time figuring out how to live together while still pursuing our individual passions and interests. We LOVE spending time together but we were people before we were husband and wife and this wife loves romance novels and workshops and yoga while my hubby loves video games and military history and sci-fi.
Balancing time together while pursuing our passions got a little sticky in the beginning of our marriage, especially when a new video game came out that my hubby just loved.
Now, I want my husband to pursue his passions. He is intelligent and hard-working and loving and kind and if playing video games helps him use his creativity and relax and re-charge, I am all for it.
I can spend 5 hours reading a romance novel just as he can spend 5 hours playing a game, it’s all good.
However, this particular game was majorly interfering with what we shall call, “Wifey-Time.”
I was not happy about this.
And being a newlywed, I didn’t really have a plan or know what to do about it.
After a few nights of going to bed alone I realized, I didn’t want him to stop playing his game, I just wanted some time with him and then he could play to his heart’s content.
So I made a request.
I asked if he could spend a few minutes with me first and then go play.
I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t yelling. I wasn’t naggy. I just asked.
He said, “Sure!”
So one of our married rituals was born – if, for some reason, we aren’t going to sleep at the same time (we usually do), then we tuck each other in before we keep going.
Years later when I started this blog, the hubs asked me if I would tuck him in before I went to the office to write.
He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t yelling. There was no guilt trip, he just asked.
I said, “Yes! Of course!”
Sometimes when we ask the answer is not a yes, but it is way more likely to be closer to a yes when we ask from a place of courage than when we ask from a place of fear or anger.
Sometimes we ask for something and that just starts a conversation that leads to a different solution that still meets our needs and gets the ask done, perhaps in a more creative or sometimes, even better way than we could have imagined when we made the original request.
I know you will be asking for things this week – from your spouse, your co-workers, your boss, even from yourself.
Will you ask at the final moment when you just can’t take it anymore or will you ask courageously, when you realize you have a desire and you discover the means to fulfill it?
ACTION ITEM for this week – Ask with courage. Be willing to give up the need to do it the hard way.
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