Photo Credit: Erica J Photography
I was lucky enough to marry my very best friend.
Even so, the first year of marriage was a bit of an adjustment.
We were head-over-heels in love but something struggled with communicating opposing viewpoints.
After all, why would he stop talking when we disagreed?
Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I had the less-than-attractive habit of interrupting.
And why did I speak harshly when I was angry?
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I felt that I wasn't being heard.
One afternoon we were strolling through a lovely park when we noticed a Rastafarian-looking fellow selling hand carved walking sticks and what I can only assume to be billy clubs. The artist soul in me was immediately attracted to the carefully crafted pieces. Per my request, my dear hubby kindly bought me a brightly colored billy club.
However, the question remained... what on earth was I going to do with a billy club?
I was sure there was practical and non-violent use for such beautiful piece.
Suddenly, I was reminded of a native American tradition that I had once read about.
When a tribe had something important to discuss, a talking stick was passed around from member to member allowing only the person holding the stick to speak. After the person had fully expressed themselves, they passed the stick on to the next person.
If it worked for the native Americans perhaps it would work for my dear hubby and I as well.
We decided to give it a try. The next time we had a disagreement we pulled out the talking stick. Something amazing happened. I stopped interrupting which allowed my dear hubby the space he needed to express his thoughts. I began speaking more gently because I felt that I was finally being heard.
It was beautiful. It was quirky. It was life-changing.
Five years later we still have our talking stick. However, we rarely have to pull it out of the drawer.
After a few months of utilizing our beloved stick, we developed the habit of truly listening to each other.
We plan to save it to use in family meetings when Miss Cupcake gets a bit older.
After all, everyone deserves to be heard.
Read more about our relationship HERE.