I met my husband 18 years ago. September 20th we celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary. Marriage is like any relationship personal or professional; it takes a lot of effort, commitment, and communication to make it work.
Let me take you back to where it all began – our first date. It was blissful, we spent hours sharing our lives, aspirations, exploring our likes and dislikes. You should have seen him light up when I told him I loved to fish and golf. He was so excited to hear that we had common hobbies. His eyes almost bulged out of his head when I told him I owned a Harley.
But then I spoke the words I think every man would want to hear a woman speak, I said “You know I am not a typical Woman, I HATE to Shop” I thought he was going to have a stroke. You could see it in his eyes, and I know he was thinking; “I’ve hit the Jackpot a Woman that loves to fish, golf, rides Harley’s and hates to shop, woo hoo.” He was so enamored, three months later he proposed.
Fast forward a week after the honeymoon. I usually arrived home from work before my husband, but this night I came in late. He heard me struggling to get the door open so he came to assist me. There I stood with bags upon bags from every major department store stuffed with merchandise. His mouth dropped open, he looked down at the bags then he looked up at me and said; “Now wait a minute, you told me you didn’t like to shop” I looked at him firmly and said; “I don’t – I like to Buy!”
That first week back from our honey moon I realized the words we spoke had different meanings. The honeymoon wasn’t quite over but the reality of what it takes to make any relationship work, began to sink in.
Now I didn’t lie, I Hate to Shop! My definition of shopping is to spend all day browsing trying things on, looking through this and that. I don’t shop I buy, and I don’t waste time. I know what I want and I go Buy it. Also I wait for clearance sales. I never pay full retail for anything. My husbands definition of shopping is spending money period! Oops Communication failure.
That was a huge aha moment. Our different backgrounds, education, and gender played a major role behind the words we speak and their meaning.
The #1 killer to any relationship is making Assumptions.
Action Step: To maintain solid relationships with Employees, Clients, Family and Friends, communicate openly, ask questions and avoid making assumptions. If you’re not clear what someone is saying. Ask questions such as; “What do you mean you hate to shop?” I would have been more than happy to explain to him my definition of shopping. ;-} Clarity when communicating is key to avoid making assumptions, and will help you become a TRUE Leader.