After Tim & I go out most anywhere, we usually turn to each other in the car and ask THE question.
We’ve asked it for over ten years now so we both anticipate it.
“What can I do differently?“
The intent of the question is to encourage both of us to think critically about how our actions affect each other. For example, I might say, “You embarrassed me when you said...” Or he might say, “I could see down your shirt when you bent over.” We tell each other if we were too grouchy, too harsh, too flirtatious, or too careless. We tell each other if we laughed too loud or had broccoli in our teeth or lacked empathy.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for such detailed and critical feedback from most people (nor would I want to), but there’s a certain safety in our relationship that makes these (sometimes painful) conversations possible. When Tim says something, I listen. I let his words seep into my heart, take root in my steps.
Lately, we’ve been including our 4-year-old in the discussions too. I’ll ask her, “Is there anything I did tonight that you wish I didn’t do?” After listening to her thoughts, I usually give her a few things to work on “for next time” too. I try to remember to say at least 5 good things [bare minimum!] for every critique.
I’m curious: do you ask for criticism/feedback from your spouse or your kids? How often?