Our grandson recently became engaged, and we are delighted! Ricardo and I celebrated the event with him and his bride-to-be at a special dinner and had a lovely evening, including lots of great conversation and laughs.
At one point in the conversation, our grandson’s fiancée remarked that our family seems quite large to her and, at times, a bit overwhelming. I paused for a moment– it doesn’t always register with me that we are a relatively large group when we all get together (which, fortunately for us, is pretty often). But it’s true, there are 18 of us, and that doesn’t include our extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and forever friends.
Our grandson’s fiancée comes from a single-parent family, and she has one sibling, so I can see why our gatherings can feel a lot more chaotic and potentially stressful to her. More people to get to know and more personalities to accommodate.
We shared some favorite family stories – both hers and ours – and got to know each other even better because of those stories.
Inevitably, the concept of Perceptual Style came up. As you would guess, it’s hard for me not to include a little bit about it – it’s such an essential part of my life.
My husband and I have a saying we use – “live the theory” – in all sorts of situations where we don’t see things the same way.
Ricardo is Activity, and I’m Vision, and as much as we love each other, there are some things we each do that irritate the heck out of each other. It’s not on purpose; it’s just who we each are.
For example, Ricardo naturally provides lots of context for the stories he tells as he sets the stage to share an experience. On the other hand, I naturally weave in lots of insights with my stories.
At times he wishes I would provide some context…any context… that would substantiate my “insights”; at times, I wish he would just get to the point.
We’ve learned to play off each others’ story-telling tendencies, interrupting to augment –more context or more insights – rather than to “correct” the stories. The net result is we enjoy sharing our stories, and that sense of fun and enjoyment shines through.
Understanding Perceptual Style has made it so much easier to see our differences aren’t right or wrong. They just are.
Instead of trying to change each other, we use our knowledge of the differences between us to dial down disconnects, laugh at our foibles, and take advantage of the fact that each of us has some strengths the other person doesn’t. Our 36th wedding anniversary is this week, so I’d say it’s working well for us so far!
Back to our grandson and his fiancée. As they start their lives together, I hope they will always celebrate who they are as individuals and who they are as partners. We’ll be here to support them in their journey.
And I must admit I smiled from ear to ear when they contacted us the day after our dinner with them and asked if she could take the PSA. But of course!
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