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Learning in Relationships

Over the course of the last year or so, I have become a relatively avid podcast listener. I say relative because I can really only listen to podcasts in the car on my way to and from picking up Elizabeth & Ada from daycare. That limits me to about an hour and a half of listening time every week. One podcast I have in my rotation is Committed, a podcast on the How Stuff Works Network about marriage. When I was trying to figure out what aspects of learning I could talk about this month, a recent episode of the podcast came to me – although all the episodes are arguably about learning in and about relationships.

This episode, which I’m sorry to say recently had a tragic earthly end, chronicled the relationship of Gweneviere and Yasir as Gwen was diagnosed and learned to live with a meningioma brain tumor that stole her memory. The tools Yasir used to continue to build and strengthen their relationship were amazing to me. The community of support around them, the friends that learned the jingles, and so much more are such a beautiful testament to what we can learn to do in any relationship where love is present.

As I think about Gwen and Yasir, I can’t help but reflect on the own learning I’ve done in my own marriage. There are some pieces of knowledge, like the fact that I can only control myself, that have been solidified. Other pieces of knowledge have come through a lot of study and reflection, like what exactly it means for food to “strengthen and nourish your body” (a common refrain in LDS blessings on food). Others still are coming and continue to be refined, like ways of speaking.

I think, although I would certainly not claim to be a relationship expert, most learning in relationships is based on trial and error.  We can do our best based on observation and recognize the tools we have available to us that may be better than what our parents had, but ultimately we can’t look at any other relationship and know with any level of certainty what’s going on “on the inside.” We’re just banging around blind in our own relationships for a while until we find a groove.

What are some tools you’ve used in your relationships to help make things better?

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