“What’s in Your Tool Belt?”
(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: When Secrets Surface by Dr Ken McGill)
At any given time you will want to have your tool belt on in order to quickly and successfully work on and eventually resolve any problem that pops up that may threaten your progress. What follows below are some suggested tools that you will want to have handy because more than likely you will need to access these “tools” rapidly and often as you continue your work in protecting the garden. What’s in Your Tool Belt? Make sure you have good quality tools that help you to facilitate relationship repair and to feel good about your work and the outcomes you wish to achieve.
The “tools” are:
T: You’ll Need a way to Hydrate yourself: Embrace Your Spiritual Disciplines
Everyone needs water when working in the garden or else it will be a very short workday! Hydrating yourself with prayer or any other spiritual discipline that grounds, cools or empowers you is necessary. The first and vital step is between you and your God!
O: Identify and Speak about Your Thoughts, Needs, Feelings and Solutions
Identifying then communicating what you are thinking, feeling, need and what will repair the impasse in 3 minutes or less, then letting go of the outcome helps you to creatively focus on solutions versus cyclical complaining. This may be the tool you use the most!
O: What other Tools do I need to do this job effectively?
You have a lot of tools at your disposal. When you are emotionally flooded you may not even remember you have a tool belt and at times, you may wish to unbuckle it and discard it. Being grounded, calm and humble helps you to focus, remember and respond, which is a very good tool.
L: Pray for Courage to See and then to do the next right thing
It takes a lot of insight and guts to identify and own up to your part in what went wrong then muster up the courage when you have cooled down to practice reconciliation (laying aside wrathful behavior, then imparting peaceful behavior). What’s the next right step for you to practice in your effort to resolve conflict with your partner?
B: You Know this Already, but LOVE is the Answer — Apply it Liberally!
Practical applications of Agape or Love (Esteeming, Cherishing, Respecting, Favor, Honor, Acceptance, Prizing, Relishing and Devotion) will more than likely repair and renew any problem that arises. Perhaps this is the tool that you will use the most. Remember, all (s)he needs is love!
E: Engage in “Course Correction” and Make Amends Rapidly
The quickest way to repair a breach in any relationship is to do your job to course correct as soon as possible. It does not matter if the other person gets it or not, if you know what repair is needed, then you are encouraged to do your part versus fomenting disharmony.
L: Make Sure You appreciate when someone gives you a Helping Hand
If your partner makes progress (no one will achieve perfection), then make sure you acknowledge and appreciate his or her contribution. Gratitude flows from appreciating what you currently have. Find some way to acknowledge any gift that is given to you, no matter how large or small the contribution.
T: Have the Number of a Good Repair Person Handy
Sometimes it is practical to seek a consult and ask for help when you hit a roadblock. Women do this far more effectively than men, so men, remember “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17. Seek assistance that will be helpful to you and could provide the necessary guidance you may need.
I wish you the best as you use your tools to create a very beautiful relationship garden full of character virtues that edify and empower both of you!