It often felt like an uphill journey that I was never quite prepared to take. – Akilah, the Pusher
Sometimes the best thing to do is to be still, observe, and let things unfold. – Kris, the Holder
The Pusher/Holderâ„¢ philosophy is one that Kris realized one night during a moment of serious vulnerability between us. We had just recovered from a 2-day Push-Hold battle whereby I wanted us to make a move on something that he felt warranted more stillness, observation, and allowing.
The art of allowing was never my strong suit, and though I now understand, embrace, and even practice allowing, it comes with great effort. My husband Kris, on the other hand, somehow got an all-access pass to allowance, and is more wait-and-see than get up-and go. Boy, did he have his work cut out for him in trying to show me the option of stillness in my otherwise gitter-done-and-hold-the-reigns-tight mentality.
During that post-battle conversation I mentioned, an epiphany rode in on our vulnerability wave. When I became calm enough to listen, and he was present enough to share openly, Kris said:
“I know you want us to take things on without fear, and be masters of our fate and all of that. I get it, and I actually love that about you, it’s one of the things I admire in you. But my focus is, and will always be about looking at the risks, making calculations, and keeping us rooted in some semblance of safety. I make sure we don’t sway to far off in one direction that we fall over. That’s my job, Akilah””I am our Holder.”
I slow-blinked him while I processed his words””partially because I was stunned by the beautiful simplicity and clarity of his statement, and partially because I didn’t want to cry. I had done enough of that over the two days prior.
I immediately understood what my husband meant, and in that very moment, I gained higher access to the benefits of truly seeing something through someone else’s eyes.
How impatient and haphazard my way must sometimes feel to him, I thought. And how frustrated she must get with my insistence on what must feel like eternal observation with little action, he said aloud.
Wow””almost a decade of marriage, and we had just finally started to gain real compassion for each other’s natural way of viewing things!
Kris and I wanted to share this with our BMWK family, particularly because of the feedback we’ve been getting since sharing our lives with you in Still Standing. If you’ve yet to see the film, you’re losing a lot, because all the couples got incredibly open and shared insights on communication, fear, financial struggles, emotional and physical illness, and so many other topics that you and your partner have or will experience.
Kris and I focused on communication styles and strategies in the film, and I tell you””that work still serves us to this day. This isn’t our first public conversation about our marriage journey, and it won’t be the last, but we want to make sure this particular element isn’t lumped in with the overall message.
Why? Because when you start seeing things through your spouse’s eyes, your own ego (and its accompanying baggage) starts to lose its footing, and gets replaced by a genuine desire to understand and empathize with each other.
We have and will continue to do the work it takes to love each other authentically, to be able to share what each of us needs in any moment, and to respect the inherent ways in which we are different. The Push/Holdâ„¢ philosophy has helped with that immensely, so we offer it to you as one more marriage tool for your journey.
Here’s how we define a Pusher and a Holder (below). Let it steep a bit, then make time to discuss it with your spouse. Believe me when I tell you that this simple realization continues to offer up big doses of clarity, compassion, and access to bigger love in our marriage.
In every relationship, there’s a Pusher and a Holder. Though many of us can embody either of the traits at a given time, there’s still almost always a clear illustration of the Pusher and the Holder.
PROFILE OF A PUSHER
Usually out in front. They’re initiators, and their tendency is to flit, so they won’t be able to focus on one thing for a long time. They believe in taking many steps, and they need to feel that things are evolving, in motion. They believe in jumping in and figuring it out once they’re in. They want the support of the rest of the family in the movement, and they feel unsupported when it seems like the family isn’t in agreement about the need for motion. They thrive on the thrill of possibility.
Tends to be called: visionary, forceful, dreamer, risk-taker
PROFILE OF A HOLDER:
Believes in balance, but not in the Work-Life sense. When a move needs to be made, they do it slowly and with deep deliberation. When a Holder moves, it’s only because they see the direct result of the move. They’re not natural chance-takers, because that trait would jeopardize their ability to do their jobs as Holders.
Tends to be called: Logical, strategic, stable-minded, realistic, a take-their-time-to-make-a-decision type of person, a thinker.
3 Questions Worth Considering:
Have you assessed your primary role in your marriage?
Which one are you (primarily)?
How can you start loving your partner more, right where they are, with a new appreciation for why they tend to Push or to Hold?
Words by Akilah S. Richards :: Pusher.
Find Kris + Akilah at theLifeDesignAgency.com