Archive for October, 2013

By Invitation Only

October 29, 2013

Our guest blogger is Tony Victor, a member of the Imago faculty. Below he writes about the important mindset we need to adopt when we dialogue with our partners. You can read more about Tony by visiting his website at the Midwest Relationship Center.

Imagine you have made a new friend and she invites you to her home.  There is something very special about being an invited guest into someone’s home.  Not everyone gets such an invitation.  To get an invitation this friend has found something very special about you.  She feels comfortable in opening her private domicile to you.  She decides to give you the grand tour of her humble home that is a reflection of her.  The way the furniture is arranged.  The way the rooms are decorated and so on.  Even though it might not match your tastes as a way of honoring her for inviting you in and showing respect and courtesy you very likely would show interest and compliment her.  After all you are a visitor in her home–An invited guest, a very special privilege.  She will enjoy showing you her home and you will likely get invited back many times.

Now imagine rather than showing an interest you immediately started making suggestions as to better ways she could arrange her furniture or better ways she could utilize her space or a better color pattern for her walls.  In so doing you have violated rather than honored her opening her home to you.  It is very likely she will feel hurt and defensive.  It is not likely you will get invited back.  Nor will your friendship grow.

Imago Dialogue is about one person, the “sender,” inviting another into their private world–their home—a sanctuary only open to a select few.  As the listener or “receiver” it is important to remember you are an invited guest.

Becky and I have been together for over 40 years.  I still need to remind myself that I am an invited guest when she has something to share with me–when she invites me into her private world.  I am not a “part-owner of her world.”  I have no right to tell her how she should arrange the space in her world.  It is my privilege to listen with great interest.  I’ve discovered that each time she gives me the grand tour of her home I discover something new and fresh.  The times that I don’t discover something are usually the times when I have forgotten that I am a visitor and assume ownership of her world.

So a simple little secret is to practice listening to your partner like you are a visitor receiving the grand tour, she will invite you in more often and your relationship will grow and blossom.

Dare ya

When was the last time you visited a new place? Was it a different country or just a new place you hadn’t been to? Remember how curious you were,  not to mention polite? Remember how intently you listened because you wanted to learn with an open mind and heart so you could take it all in?

Let yourself get into that mindset the next time you talk to your partner and see what happens!!!

I promise it will be a new experience!