Here Are 5 Things NOT to Say When Your Significant Other Is Venting

The other day, I lost my cool.

A couple of writers whose work I edit missed their deadlines. My own deadlines loomed. With short notice, new projects popped up. My workload surged and so did my stress level. By the end of the day, I needed to vent.

I called my boyfriend, who listened as I listed every single stressor. “That is frustrating,” he agreed. His presence and his patience played important roles in saving what I almost lost that day—my mind. That’s because his response when somebody vents has power. Yours does, too.

What you do when a loved one vents can connect or disconnect you. It can serve your significant other or be a disservice. If you’d rather help your significant other than hurt your relationship, there are five things not to say when he or she is venting. Click here to read them (in my latest post for CatholicMatch).

When dating is hard.

As a Catholic, I believe that dating is for discerning marriage — for discovering the truth about each other. For deciding whether to choose to love each other until death.

Sometimes, dating is fun. You can go to aquariums together and stuff. There are otters at aquariums. Need I say more? Dating is good. If you pay attention, you learn about God and each other and yourself. Sometimes dating is easy — when you’re laughing, or at Adoration, or noticing a new reason to appreciate him or her.

But sometimes, dating is hard, like when there is conflict. Miscommunication. Insecurity. Distance (all the kinds). Inconsiderate decisions. Resistance to vulnerability. Continue reading “When dating is hard.”

3 Lessons and 2 Tips from Chris Donatto

3 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.

This edition features Chris Donatto, who “has dreadlocks and a beard,” said his wife, Erika. “That’s really the most important thing about him.”

Except, she added, “he’s also a husband, a father, youth minister, and Adore missionary. And Batman. Yes, he’s Batman.” And Chris — ahem, Batman — is gracious today to share three lessons and two tips: Continue reading “3 Lessons and 2 Tips from Chris Donatto”

Please don’t accept me as I am.

One day I will look my future husband in the face and say it: “Please don’t accept me as I am.” I turned 30 before I decided that I would do this — a decision that Timothy Keller helped me make.

In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Keller dissects, in part, the prevalent urge to resist relationships with people who won’t accept us as we are, whose involvement with us could disrupt the habits we established before we met.

The quest then is for a spouse who doesn’t just choose and love you as you are, but whose relationship with you doesn’t change you.

Which makes little sense for us who are Catholic, because we believe that marriage, like all vocations, should change us — we’re supposed to be holier at the end than we were at the beginning, because of grace and each other. We’re supposed to be committed to each other’s sainthood, not to maintenance of each other’s status quo. Continue reading “Please don’t accept me as I am.”

How to determine what your significant other is thinking.

I recently saw an article about body language and dating that had the following subheadline: “Next time you find yourself wondering what he’s thinking, try observing these nonverbal cues.”

Or — here’s an idea — ASK HIM (or her, gentlemen — it works for you, too).

We do not know what other people are thinking but advice that encourages us to use any method for finding out other than “ask them” is advice that discourages communication. And that is advice that misleads us.

[shareable]We are designed to communicate explicitly in relationships.[/shareable]

This is not always easy but it is healthy, and it is worth discomfort. If we are unwilling to communicate while we date we will be unwilling while we are married.

And neither our world nor our Church needs more marriages with the walls that spouses build between each other when they don’t communicate.

[callout]New to my work? Check out my book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin.[/callout]