I wanted to share one of the lesser known secrets for good marital (and family) communication. My husband worked in the corporate world for over 40 years before retiring. He often says he thinks best in spreadsheets and on whiteboards, and one of the best tools he ever brought into our home from work was the whiteboard.
Years ago, we installed a small whiteboard in our hallway to keep track of family activities like dentist appointments, primary programs, school events, love notes, chores and encouragement. After our children grew and left home, we started using our hallway whiteboard as a thinking and planning tool.
Standing in front of our whiteboard, with colored dry-erase pens in hand, we spent many hours discussing vacations, the pros and cons of purchases, thoughts and feelings we were having, to-do lists, etc.
My husband and I occasionally don’t see things quite the same. (Shocker!) Once in a while, our discussions are not so “peaceful”, but we keep talking and writing and drawing on our whiteboard, and almost always we are able to reach decisions both of us can live with.
Today we have matching his and her 3’ x 4’ whiteboards in our office. They are both typically filled with all sorts of thoughts and scribbles and plans. We still stand in front of these boards and have “lively discussions” on a regular basis.
Years ago, we used my whiteboard to develop the first version of our LDS Mixed-Faith Conversation Starters workbook. Topics or behaviors listed in the workbook will provide many hours of discussion for couples or families moving into a mixed-faith lifestyle. Without faith in the church, what behaviors will change? What behaviors will remain the same?
Below is a sampling from the 60+ behaviors listed for discussion:
- Word of Wisdom: Alcohol, Coffee, Tea, Tobacco, Drugs
- Temple: Family history, Weddings, Temple work, wearing garments
- Church activities: Sabbath day, baptisms, different churches, meetings
- Donations: Tithing, missionary fund, humanitarian
- Miscellaneous: Family prayer, scripture study, blessings, removing name
I believe the whiteboard is a fantastic communication tool for couples and families. I also believe this workbook is our best tool for identifying, discussing and preparing for behavior changes due to a faith transition – before they happen. I invite you to see if it would work for you.
Side note – We have learned many things about the selection, care, feeding and cleaning of whiteboards and dry-erase markers. If you are curious, just click here to contact me.
If you would like to try a discussion with dry-erase pens, but you don’t have a whiteboard, we have also used the bathroom mirror or large windows, and they work too. Dry-erase markers are wonderful conversation aids!