Tag Archives: communication

Don’t Set People Up To Fail You.

Originally published in The Grip

A while back, our 13 year old, John Henry, got upset with his dad and responded to him poorly. Kris decided to take his phone and keep it until he apologized. While I knew Kris just wanted John Henry to recognize his poor response and how his words hurt, I wasn’t on board with his strategy, and Kris was open to hear my heart on it. At times, Kris and I disagree with how the other is handling a parenting issue, and one of us checks the other. I felt, in this situation, Kris was setting John Henry up to fail.

“He should know to go to his dad and ask for forgiveness and make this right.” Perhaps. But, sometimes, we know to make something right but have a hard time doing it, for whatever the reason may be. Placing expectations on someone to respond in a certain way only sets that person up to fail you. I’ve seen countless relationships that function this way. Especially in marriage. One sets the other up to see if he or she will respond in a certain way, and if that person “fails the test,” anger and resentment abound. “If she doesn’t come to me and apologize.” “If he doesn’t notice what I did and say ‘thank you.’” The list of examples could on and on. Instead of testing someone who doesn’t even know he or she is being tested, go to him or her. Share your heart and what you are needing from that person. Make sure you don’t come in on the offensive with words and phrases like, “you always” or “you never.” Instead, put it back on you. “It makes me feel unappreciated when you do this,” or “I am needing this from you right now.” Pay attention to your sound and tone. Go into the conversation not only ready to share your heart, but prepare yourself to listen to the other person’s heart as well.”

Kris made the decision to go to John Henry and ask him why he responded the way he did. Kris explained how his words hurt him. Both were able to share their heart, and there were no unfair expectations placed on John Henry without him knowing those expectations. Kris was able to coach John Henry in how to respond in situations when he gets angry and upset. It became a coachable moment instead of a set-up and test. See the difference? The same applies in all of our relationships. Don’t set people up to fail you. It’s simply not fair. And, more times than not, that person will, indeed, fail you. You have two options when you are wanting something from another person: 1) Go to them, and share your heart with the tenderest of tones, or 2) Decide it’s something you can let go and manage without. Both options are necessary at different times in our lives. Both options place you in a position where you are choosing the relationship. Both options are redemptive. And, neither is unfair.

Let’s not place expectations on people. And, if we do, and they fail us, let’s choose forgiveness instead of resentment. Let’s play fair, extend mercy, and handle each other with the greatest of care.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Colossians 3:13

1 Comment

Filed under Marriage, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.

I love how the morning my article on relationships is published in The Grip and the morning after I attend a relationship class, I have a rather heated encounter with my husband.  And, I don’t mean the physical touch, love language kind of encounter.  I’m talking about the let’s find every wrong way to communicate to your spouse kind of encounter. 

It all started with this question:  “Is the bug man here?”  And, yes, by bug man I mean exterminator.  We are a sophisticated bunch in the Takle household. 

No need in spilling every pitiful detail of how I thought Kris responded to my inquiry.  Orrrr, how I received his answer.  But, it would be later in the evening before we would resolve our marital dilemma.

Joey Grubbs, our relationship guru, had shared only the night before how we need to look in the mirror when we find ourselves dealing with issues in our relationships.  I don’t think he meant for me to say, I don’t know, “Kris, Joey says you need to look in the mirror!”  I mean, I don’t think he said that.  I certainly wouldn’t have translated it that way….on a normal, non-hormonal kind of day. 

Once I invited God into my day, I finally looked in the mirror for myself.  What is it in me that made me receive Kris’ answer the way I received it?  Why was I so offended?  Later, Kris and I were able to sit down and talk about the unfortunate dialogue of that morning.  I was able to share how I knew my response just wasn’t a good one.  I was also able to share what I need from him in those situations.  And, he was able to receive it.

I’ve always been quite the self-assessor.  But, I’m learning the importance even more of looking at myself in the mirror.  And, asking simple questions like, “What is it in me that makes me feel or react a certain way?”  Actually, I need to look in the mirror for ALL of my relationships.  Once I do, I must line up those things that aren’t right with God’s Word.  Because, His Word is the best litmus test for how we are responding to and receiving from others. 

So, here’s to the confessions of a writer on relationships. 

I’m still growing.  And, from the looks of that girl staring back at me in the mirror, I have a lot more growing to do. 

Thankful for a patient husband.  And, an even more patient Father.


Filed under Love, Marriage, Relationships

When Nagging Doesn’t Work…And, It Never Does.

Yesterday, my good friend, Cindy Beall, posted “Shut Up And Pray” revealing the power of praying for your spouse…..versus the not so easily received nagging by your spouse.  It was good stuff.

There are times when issues need to be discussed.  And, a long time ago, I posted “Conversations That Work,” a few lessons I’ve learned in how to communicate with my spouse. 

But, not all issues really need to be confronted.  Because, sometimes, those issues are our issues….not theirs.  So, when we address “our stuff” with our spouse, it will usually come out in the form of nagging.  I don’t always zip it, lock it, and put it in my pocket like I should.  But, I really try. 

One evening, a couple of weeks ago, I was just frustrated with Kris.  (He doesn’t even know it….except, now he does, IF HE READS MY BLOG TODAY.  Not bitter.)  I made the very difficult decision of not saying a word.  I went to bed….


I didn’t even pray, “Lord, show him he needs to do this or that.”  Instead, I prayed blessings over his life.  I prayed that God would bless him in everything he does and touches.  That He would give him peace wherever there is no peace.  That any stress in his life that wasn’t from God, He would gently remove from his life.

Blessings.  That’s what I prayed.

The next morning, I woke up to a different man.  Or, perhaps, I woke up to a different me?  I had a brand new perspective and an even greater love for Kris. 

Our words are powerful.  Our prayers make a difference in BOTH of our lives. 

Bless your husband by praying for him.  It works much better than nagging.  I promise.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  Proverbs 31:12


Filed under Marriage, prayer, Relationships

Conversations that work.

We all know that communication is key in relationships.  However, how we communicate is just as important as the communication itself.  Kris and I don’t get it right all the time, but I’d say that we usually do okay. 

I’ve learned a few things that work and a few that don’t.  Such as….

·      Addressing an issue in the form of an attack.  For example:   I try to avoid comments that begin with “You never” or “You always”.  This, more times than not, forces Kris to be defensive.  He shouldn’t have to “defend” himself unless I catch him eating the last of my cereal before I’ve had my bowl.


·      Addressing something that bothers you while that something is happening.  I will usually wait until we are alone and time has lapsed before I address an issue.  I do this for 2 reasons:  1) I may feel differently about it later, thus saving Kris from any unnecessary tough conversation and 2) if I still feel a need to address the issue, he is less likely to take offense and receive what I have to say, because he is far removed from the situation.  This rule is null and void if said offender leaves the toilet seat up or changes the toilet paper roll by simply placing the new one on top of the old one.  This calls for immediate dialogue.


·      And, finally, communication sometimes simply involves telling Kris something I love about him, thanking him for something he does, or praising him for his accomplishments.  It is important that he knows that I appreciate him and that I believe in him.  For example, he is an excellent pilot, and I tell him all the time.  Actually, I tell him that when I see his hand pushing that throttle forward, I kind of melt inside.  For real.


What have you found that works or doesn’t work?


Filed under Relationships