My wife and I had a good series of talks on the way to a retreat back in February. I can’t remember the substance of our talks on the way down, but it was nice to have had the time and space to talk. As a married couple who both work nearly full-time and have kids in both school and daycare, we often meet ourselves coming and going and don’t strive to make time to connect and re-connect. Talking in a car on a 5-hour road-trip can lend itself to great re-connecting.
However, on the way back, we bickered.
My wife seemed annoyed and frustrated as we were driving home and I wanted to know why. I wanted to know why we had such a great connection time on the way there, but not so on the way home.
Her response was that I didn’t help or “co-lead” in packing and helping to manage the trip. She felt that it was all up to her. Toward the end, she said something that struck a nerve and made me think:
She told me that while I am getting better at being empathetic with people in my professional world, I am not getting any better at being empathetic with her or with the kids.
- That, I did not realize.
- That, I believe, is something I had not taken into consideration.
- That was new to me.
I know that I lack considerable natural empathy and I must manufacture and lace my interactions with it liberally. It’s something I recognize and try to compensate for. However, I am short and to the point. I don’t like to waste words. To me, feelings and emotions are nice to express, but don’t help move along discussion.
But I am so wrong.
We are humans who are comprised of both an intellect and an emotional core. It could possibly be said that feeling and emotions are the highways to get to understanding. Not for me… but for others, yes.
I need to work on that.