Another Mother is a podcast on faith and motherhood from My Spring Harvest and Emma Borquaye. Subscribe to hear conversations full of practical wisdom to help you on your journey of raising little ones, the way that God intended - with all the joy!
For each episode of Another Mother, Emma has pulled together some helpful resources that run alongside her conversations. They will help us explore the themes from the podcast more, whilst seeing what has inspired Emma and her guests.
In episode 7 of the Another Mother podcast Emma speaks to Nicky and Sila Lee, the founders of The Marriage Course, The Pre-Marriage Course and The Parenting Children Course. They have been married for 46 years and have four children and ten grandchildren.
Nicky and Sila share honestly about their marriage and what it was like when they first became parents, and give some practical advice and wisdom around healthy habits, what to do if you’re feeling distant from your spouse, and how to navigate disagreement. If you haven’t heard the episode yet you can listen here or watch here.
One of their key tools for marriage is healthy communication, and they suggest having regular conversations where you can ask open-ended questions, allowing one another to practise the art of listening well, whilst the other speaks honestly.
Here is a helpful format you might wish to follow with your partner called a ‘temperature reading’ it can be done daily, weekly, monthly - whatever works for you.
Set aside 30 minutes for this conversation, it may be good to set a timer to give the conversation clear boundaries.
Sit facing one another. Start by taking 1-2 minutes to silently contemplate how you are feeling in this moment about yourself, and who you are with. You will then go through the 5 sections, taking as long or short as you want on each part.
Take turns to say what you appreciate about each other. Be specific and precise.
E.G: Instead of ‘I love being with you’, try ‘I love the way you call me at lunch time to see how I am, it makes me feel cared for.’
Do not argue with, or bat-back an appreciation, you can just say thank you. Do not put a ‘but’ on the end of an appreciation or try to sneak in any complaints.
Take as many turns as you like.
This section is about sharing the events of your lives as well as being open about your moods, feelings and thoughts and what is affecting them. It is important to keep one another up to date about what is happening to you.
It can be objective information: ‘I have a doctors appointment tomorrow’, or subjective information: ‘My back has been hurting me this week and it has made me feel like I’m getting old, this worries me.’
The point is to say what is in the foreground and keep it real even if you haven’t worked out what you are feeling and thinking yet.
This is an opportunity to examine our assumptions and ask any type of question. E.G ‘what time are you leaving tomorrow’, or ‘The door slammed yesterday, did the wind catch it or were you angry?’
Asking questions does not mean you will get answers. It is important to be patient.
Complaints or worries should only be aired with suggestions for how it might be addressed. Without attacking, blaming, name-calling, interpreting, or criticizing. Describe the behaviour that causes you concern, and then explain how it makes you feel, not think - and then say what you would like done differently.
When you receive a complaint, try simply to listen and not defend yourself. You do not have to alter your behaviour, although you may choose to.
When you receive a complaint, it can be helpful to remember that it is rarely information about you, instead it is information about the person making the complaint, and how things make them feel.
Sharing our hopes can make us feel vulnerable, so support your partner with encouragement. Sharing our vulnerabilities increases the connection between us.