A husband is asked to change by his wife. He is hesitant but he agrees.
He’s afraid of losing her. What are the phases he may experience?
He has a quiet, resistant attitude, “Fine! I’ll do whatever you want.” Yes, he makes some small steps of change. But, it’s simple and shallow. He learns to use a few emotional words like connecting and empathy. His main focus is still equality. “I want to hear you and for you to hear me.” He’s still involved in way too much dialogue about himself. He makes comments like, “What do you want from me? I can never satisfy you!” and “What about my feelings?”
The seriousness is starting to sink in. He knows he must change or face hard consequences. He digs in a little deeper. It’s still hard, but he’s throwing fewer fits and staying longer in conversations. He starts adopting more emotional words like growth, learning, and grieving. He recognizes he has been emotionally stunted and he is taking more ownership.
He’s studied his childhood and sees the connection with his emotional detaching. The conversations are less about him or equality, rather, they are going deep and lasting a little longer. He’s feeling less stressed and more comfortable with himself.
He becomes more relaxed. It’s just a conversation. He knows she will go up and down in mood. He just rides along. He repeats “She just wants me to stay on the journey with her.” He’s has fully bought into the change process. He admits he was emotionally detached. He now makes a connection between his childhood pain and today’s detaching behaviors. Depth of conversations is getting easier. He’s not fighting against anymore. Instead, he has more of a team-building attitude. And, he’s actually starting to enjoy his new growth.
Jesus spoke to people in parables. Afterwards, he often said “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:9) In the same way, ask yourself “Where am I in these phases?” I encourage you to take this path and see where it leads.
Father, give me ears to hear, eyes to see, and an open heart, always ready to learn. Amen