SpouseBuzz

The Power of No

Although I'm in law school now, my studies prior to this focused on communication.  It's a fascinating topic when you break it down.  We spend so much time desiring effective communication and yet, we learn most of what we know about it through trial and error. 

Communication-wise, the military family is unique.  After all, at the heart and soul of most military men and women lies a true volunteer.  For many military spouses, the willingness to volunteer and the sacrifices that follow are infectious.  Our spouses do so much and we, sometimes by default, do too.

In this month of empowerment, let's explore the power of saying NO.

Granted, I've said "No" to lots of things about being a military spouse that I have no control over at all.

"Honey, I realize you're due in two weeks, but I really need to be at AT...three and a half hours away...in the field where no one has a cell signal...where maybe I will get your message if you call...my guys need me."

"Hey, babe.  That was the SFC.  We're leaving in the morning for Louisiana.  I'm not sure when I'll be back...they are saying three to six weeks."

"I'm sorry I haven't called for so long even though I promised I would whenever I got the chance.  I've been really busy."

"Just nine more months and I'll be home for awhile..."

I realized not too far along in this journey that no matter how loudly I yelled "NO" either aloud or in my head, it's a waste of my energy (which is already in short supply!) to resist the above situations.  They were going to come and go regardless of how firmly I dug in my heels.  And, I realized it wasn't so much that I was resistant to the idea of him doing his job, but more about what it would mean to me while he did.  I decided that I needed to start dealing with what was rather than what I wished were at any given time.  Once I reframed that in my mind, I had to start reframing other areas too.

Having two kids, two dogs, a full-time job and all the whack-a-doo duties associated with those things made deployment interesting.  Shovel on a heapload of germs for the kiddies, a couple of minor operations, a spoonful of broken/malfunctioning appliances and a pinch of home improvement, and you could have a recipe for disaster!  The key to avoiding a meltdown?

Learning to say NO.

I would assert that sometimes having to say No is no fun.  You want to do something, but you can't.  Other times, saying NO would be so much fun, but again...you can't...or so you think.  Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is say NO in a timely way.

I am going to challenge you this month to say NO to one thing.  Anything to lighten your load will count.  Share with us what you've said no to or what you plan to turn down in comments.  If you're having trouble saying NO, tell us why and we'll see if we can help you break with your usual, do-too-much traditions.  And, don't worry!  We'll have a challenge to say YES to something before the month ends! 

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