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We help people take great photos and build profitable businesses that change lives. We’re high school sweethearts, former elementary school teachers and professional photographers. We're experts at making the complex feel simple and believe education is serious business, but learning should be fun.

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Listen or Fix It?

Happy Tuesday, friends!

We’re at home recovering from a busy week in both Dallas and Houston where we shot a beautiful Texas ranch wedding for a fellow photographer (coming to the blog later this week!), poured our souls into a handful of coaching sessions and attended a family wedding as guests for the first time in years. It was so fun to really dance at a wedding! Seeing as we were in the Lone Star state, we did our best to try to two-step and keep up with the locals on the dance floor. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but when one of our favorite country tunes, Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker came on, we burned it up out there (or at least in our minds!)

In light of everything that’s been happening the past few weeks, it’s been on our hearts to share something with you that, if we hadn’t learned in pre-marital counseling and implemented in our marriage from the start, we don’t know where we’d be. You see, even though we’re similar in a lot of ways, we couldn’t be more different in others, especially when it comes to the way we handle crisis. Recognizing that we each handle it differently has been key for us. For example, when Amy gets upset, she gets emotional and cries, while when Jordan gets upset, he shuts down, gets quiet, then springs into fix-it mode. In those moments, we want different things to happen. Amy craves empathy. She just needs Jordan to hold her, listen, comfort her and tell her how sorry he is. She wants someone to feel it right along with her. Jordan, on the other hand, wants whatever the problem is to be fixed. He doesn’t want or need Amy to hold him or tell him how sorry she is. He just wants to find a solution… and fast.

We saw this video in church, and couldn’t help but laugh. They really hit the nail on the head with this one.

So, how does this translate in a marriage? Or friendship? When Amy’s upset about something, Jordan’s instinct is to try to fix it, even though that’s not always what Amy needs. When Jordan’s upset about something, Amy’s instinct is to empathize with him, even though that’s not what he always needs. If we’re not careful, we tend to give what we want and need to the other person in times of problem, not because we’re selfish but because that’s just what we understand. We give our own needs. It’s why people whose love language is gifts tend to want to give other people gifts because they assume that’s how everyone feels loved! Or it’s why’s people whose love language is words of affirmation tend to be over-the-top encouragers, because that’s what they want other people to be to them.

The funny thing is that even though we both tend to lean towards one or the other, there are also times Amy wants to skip the whole empathy thing and just wants Jordan to fix something pronto, or Jordan wants Amy to empathize with him instead of help him fix something. Confused yet? The advice we got, though, from some of our pre-marriage counselors helped bridge this gap for us. The idea is that when one of gets upset, before we start empathizing or fixing, we can one simple question:

Do you want me to listen, or do you want me to fix it? 

This one step before jumping right into things has changed our marriage forever, because the person who needs a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to them gets it; and the person who needs someone to fix it right away gets a fixer right away, too!

Amy’s sweet grandmother passed last week and in the weeks leading up to her death, Amy was grieving hard. For the first time in her life, she was waking up in tears, and throughout the day, the tears would hit her full force, sometimes out of nowhere. Obviously, there was nothing Jordan could do (or anyone for that matter) to fix what was wrong with Grandma, but there were other small things that Jordan could fix. Something around the house. Something with work. That sort of thing. There were also lots of facts that could be used to help “fix” her feelings. But, in those moments, instead of just trying to fix it with logic or reason, Jordan knew what she really needed was for him to hold her and listen to her.

We’re so thankful for this advice that we got early on and think it can really apply to almost any relationship. So, with all that in mind, here’s our challenge to you: this week, sit down with the person you love, and have a conversation about who’s the empathizer and who’s the fixer and put a plan in place to start asking yourselves this question whenever the other person is upset. Do you just want me to listen, or do you want me to fix it? 

Venice Photographer

 

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  1. Grace Sammartino DePaolo says:

    Thank you. This answered a question I have been asking my self for years.

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"I always look forward to your emails! I get excited every time I get an email notification that says 'Amy & Jordan!' Even though we've never formally met, you guys have pretty much become the photography mentor I've never had!" 

- priscilla T. 

"I LOVEEE the Monday Minute and I look forward to it every week!"

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"The Monday Minute has seriously changed the way I look at my business! In the last year, my business has completely changed and evolved and I know that it's greatly due to my time 'spent' with the two of you!" 

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"Best year of my life! (Photography-wise!)" 

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