Which Comes First, the Cart or the Horse?

Yes, the days and nights are still strange here in the New Mexico mountains, but . . . I am still thinking “SPRING!” Actually, last night the temperature plunged to 20 degrees, and it is a tad cooler today than it has been–in the 60’s. For the past few days the temps are in the 70’s!

I keep looking at our back patio and the work that should be accomplished there really soon. I have to order a new cover for our gazebo–the last one has lasted several years, and last fall it was relegated to the trash. The weeds and twigs that the March winds have blown into the area need to be swept away. I really could use some gravel in the area where I plant in pots, and the special paint that we used on our cement, regardless of the promise to not, has peeled away in chunks, so that needs attention. The problem is, I am not as strong as I used to be, with a compromised lower back and a knee that needs replacing but won’t be.

Have you ever put the cart before the horse, as the old saying goes? In my case, I am doing just that. WHY? Well, last year I purchased an herb called lemon thyme–had never done so before. It is excellent to use in soups, sauces, etc! I LOVE it! And, I have been looking everywhere to find it again, without success. Some of the nurseries don’t have their herbs in yet, but I have been prom-sed that next Tuesday, there should be some at the nursery just up the street from our home. You can be sure that I’ll be there to obtain some! In my retirement (well, sort of) years I have discovered how important gardening has become to me–such a joy to enjoy the blooms throughout the summer, and the herbs when they are mature.

“Putting the cart before the horse.” This reminds me of how serious Ron and I are when we speak to couples who are contemplating one of the biggest steps in life–marriage. Couples want to be intimate, and they honestly believe that intimacy is sexual alone. This is definitely not true! Intimacy really is: In-to-me-see. But the question is . . . do you really know who you are so that you can share this prior to marriage with the person of your dreams? Does he or she know who they are? Have you been taught how to share your feelings with another, or do you mostly share your thoughts or opinions? In the intimacy of a marriage, the sharing of the true you and the willingness to hear and accept your true partner is a necessity! One of the reasons that marriages fail is that each partner has never learned to honestly share feelings. Instead, fingers of blame are pointed to the partner.

A statement such as, “You are never home and never want to do things with me. It’s always the golf buddy or your girlfriends instead of me!” This is an offensive statement, and usually the response will be defensive (and here begins World War Three in the home). Simply stating your feeling, such as, “I’m lonely for you!” does not elicit a defensive response, but perhaps a question or an “I’m sorry.” Sharing your true feeling usually ends in positive compromise.

So . . . you say, I’m already married. Okay, so do you know who you are, and do you share non-accusatory feelings with your partner? The human heart has 60X more electrical output power than does the brain. Have you ever been taught to connect with your partner on a heart-to-heart basis, rather than just with your thought or intellectual processes? The heart is the seat of compassion, an excellent quality to have an use in the intimacy of marriage!

So perhaps you have already put the cart before the horse. Perhaps you have already married or entered an engagement period with someone. But you are never too old or too far gone to learn, and to rectify the distance in your relationship. Remember the phrase? “IF YOU ARE TEACHABLE, YOU ARE FIXABLE!”

For years in our marriage, Ron and I had no clue how to engage with each other on the “in-to-me-see” (intimacy)level. It took us to attend a marriage enrichment weekend to learn that we were doing it all wrong. We had put the cart before the horse, so we had to backup and find the horse, and then put the horse in charge of moving the marriage cart! It took more than a weekend to truly learn how to share our feelings with each other, but once we began to learn, it was so much easier to communicate without a war, and to bless each other rather than to curse or demean. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

Why not give it a try? Here’s your instructions:

– Sit facing each other with knees touching, and eyes looking into the others’.

– Choose a topic (and if you are at a loss on how to begin, e-mail me at nancy@fixablelife.com, and I’ll e-mail you a list of suggested topics).

– NO accusing or blaming – only taking responsibility for your feelings.

– NO interrupting – let your partner get his/her words out.

– Practice active listening – phone put away, eye-to-eye, leaning forward a bit, and quieting your mind (stop trying to think up a brilliant response).

– Practice compassion – look that word up in the dictionary.

– Take your time – nothing is more important than 2 becoming 1.

– Ask God to give you grace and mercy – and He will!

– Don’t start with a huge problem – be gentle.

– Remember to consider your partners beginnings – the stress in his/her beginnings, and the current stress they may be enduring.

Ron and I would love to hear back from you as you are doing this, with your questions or comments. We love to help couples put the cart and horse in the correct position in order to move forward.

And now, I must do the same. Get the gazebo cover ordered, sweep away the twigs and trash from the patio, paint the flower pots, and see what can be done about the patio floor. How I wish I had the energy and a better back to get it done myself!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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