My husband, Casey, and I attended the first Family Leadership Summit recently, and we had so many important takeaways that summarizing them in a short blog will be tough. It was incredibly beneficial for us to have uninterrupted time to talk about things like core values, parenting strategies and estate planning. However, with our marriage being the foundational relationship of our home, I appreciated these takeaways from the presentation, “Marriage, The Masterpiece.”
If Casey and I want to build a legacy of love to which future generations will aspire, it requires a spirit of partnership but also personal responsibility. Individually, we should strive to grow in these three areas, so we can bring the best possible version of ourselves to our families.
Self-awareness. The way you were raised, the resources and opportunities available to you, and your models for relationships influence the lens through which you see the world. Every individual brings a unique perspective into a marriage, and it’s my responsibility to understand how that might color my interactions with my husband. My history, my own baggage or natural tendencies might have produced unspoken rules for our relationship, and I can’t express those to Casey if I haven’t first identified them myself.
Compassion and empathy. We all think we know ourselves and our spouses well, but people are complex. When we live in a state of continuous reflection and learning, we can understand each other better, and therefore, be more compassionate and empathetic in our relationships. Tools like the Five Love Languages, the Myers Briggs personality test and the Enneagram can shed insight on ourselves and our partners, and when we understand the specific strengths we bring to the table, we can complement our partner’s weaknesses.
Communication. Knowing when, where and how to communicate best with your spouse seems like a lifelong process, but it’s critical to effective marriages. If resentment is born from having unmet needs, then I must not only identify and clearly express my own needs but also be more attentive to Casey’s – whether he’s expressed them or not.
Children learn values by observing the people around them, and after attending the summit, we now view our marriage as a tool for teaching our daughter what matters most. By watching Casey and I model self-awareness, compassion, empathy and good communication, I hope she learns the skills that can help her build her own masterpiece one day.
Blog by Melissa LaBrue, Client Services Manager.