Joan complains that her husband Sam never talks to her anymore. When they dated, he talked up a storm! When they got married, there was always something to talk about. However, as life continues, he had become quiet.
In order for men to talk, they have to feel safe. They have to believe that, regardless of the stupidity of their actions, their spouse believes in them.
Before they were married, Joan was always celebrating Sam’s accomplishments. He would open the car door, and Joan would praise him in front of all her friends. “Oh Sam is such a gentlemen. He opened the car door for me.” He would change the light bulb in her refrigerator, and she sang his praises of how wonderful it was to have the light work.
However, now that there are so many marital obligations and distractions, Sam isn’t as attentive to the smaller details. Instead of celebrating his efforts, Joan now criticizes him. When he changes the light bulb, she quips, “It’s about time! It’s been out for a month!”
The lack of celebration of a man’s attentiveness diminishes his perception of self worth in the relationship. A woman who continues to negatively process his overtures will quickly see him become less verbal.
Parents (both mothers and fathers) often make the mistake of not celebrating their children. When they are infants, we celebrate the first smile. As toddlers, we celebrate them as they learn to use the potty. When little Sam turns twelve and seems to be tripping over everything around him, celebration goes out the window and is replaced by criticism. “I am not sure why you can’t walk through the living room without running into something!” Joan remarks. “Why didn’t you clean the garage? Quit being so lazy!” Sam lashes out at little Sam.
The gulf in communication between parents and children widen as criticism builds and celebration wanes.
A wife doesn’t want to push her husband away. Parents do not want to put a wall between them and their children. It takes an active awareness to stop and turning criticism into celebration.
Try it! Celebrate someone today!