Learning to Work Together

Today I worked with a couple in their kitchen. They were gung-ho about letting go. But as I asked them about the first few items they began to argue with each other about what was important and what wasn't. There was a teapot that he said they needed and she said they never used. He kept saying what he thought were the important features of the teapot. She kept countering him that neither of them used the teapot. Each was very passionate about their position. They were getting frustrated and unhappy.

I asked the woman to stop and let her husband say what he wanted to say. She stopped. It was hard for her because she wanted to express her feelings. He talked for another minute and then stopped. Then I asked her to talk without him interrupting. She said what she felt. It was hard for him to sit still. What was nice was because they were being heard, they were no longer defensive. And they used a lot less words. The couple seemed uncertain as to what had happened. The argument had fizzled out. Neither of them seemed to care whether the tea pot stayed or went.

The couple's way of talking with each other had some clutter. They had been attached to making the other person see their point of view. But it was leaving them feeling at a loss. It can be hard to see clutter when we're in the midst of it. Clutter has a way of enveloping us and we lose our perspective. If we're lucky, we can notice what's happening in midstream and do something about it. Or we can notice afterwards and realize the toll the clutter is taking on us.

I asked the couple to listen to each other throughout the clutter bust. I said it might be hard, but it would be worth it for them to strengthen their communication. They ended up talking with each other with listening in mind. This helped them work together and they let many things go.