"I need to write an article on marriage," I told my 11-year-old daughter in one of our end-of-the-day, right-before-bed chats. What I said next might surprise you. Rather than spouting off potential ideas I already had in mind – which at this point weren't all that impressive – I looked to her for advice. "What should I write about?" I asked.
It may seem odd that I'd ask a tween girl for help writing an article on matters of husbands and wives, but you don't know my girl. She regularly offers me ideas on what to write about. Sure, they're normally kid- or family-related, but brainstorming seems to be a fun activity for her. And I thought that perhaps she'd be able to help me with my current bout of writer's block.
She only smiled and shrugged, though. Apparently, I needed to ask her a different open-ended question.
"Well," I probed, "what do you think Papa and I do well in marriage?"
It took her only a few seconds to thoughtfully reply, "You're good at working out problems."
I'm not sure what I expected her to say, but I do know that working out problems wasn't it. Later, though, I realized this girl of ours had paid us a high compliment. She'd actively observed that Ted and I don't ignore problems. We also don't yell and scream about them either. Instead, we do our best to work out stressful issues – whether it's car problems, kids problems, or us problems – in a productive, healthy manner.
What about you? If you were to ask your kids what you do well as a couple, what would they say? Better yet, what do you hope they'd say?