Keeping the Home Fires Burning with Love and Gratitude

 In Relationships

The other day my husband asked if he should put more wood on the fire before he came to bed. I felt a quick little spike of annoyance. I reminded him that we had talked about this earlier. It was going to be warm the next day so we were going to let the fire in our wood-burning stove go out. Then we could empty out the ash later the next day.

“Then why did you want me to bring more wood in earlier this afternoon?” he asked.

“Because I thought it would still be nice to have a fire in the evening. Then we could let the fire go out for the night.” I responded.

This probably sounds like a boring conversation on the surface, but I wonder if you can relate to the underlying feelings. Were we both feeling calm and this was just a side-conversation without emotion? Or did we both feel annoyed and misunderstood? What thoughts and tone of voice accompanied this interaction?

One of my top saboteurs is Hyper-achiever. (Learn your saboteurs here.) I like to get things done, and I like to be right. I can also get impatient when it feels like people aren’t listening, and I have to repeat myself.

It felt like a challenge when my husband questioned me about why I wanted him to bring in more wood if we were going to let the fire go out. Was his saboteur getting triggered by my saboteur that showed impatience? Or was it just an innocent question that I was misinterpreting?

In my not-so-distant past, I would have let my saboteur choose my words and my tone. “You weren’t listening to me! I already told you . . . !”

This time I took a breath. I noticed my reaction and the words forming in my mind. I was able to think, ‘Thank you, Hyper-achiever, but I don’t need your “help” this time.’ 

“Thanks so much for bringing in that wood earlier. I really enjoyed the fire we had this evening.” I said with love and gratitude.

What simple, everyday situations could you use as opportunities to practice overriding your saboteurs? Even reflecting on what you could have said instead can make you better prepared for next time.

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