Today I heard a fascinating story about relationships. Let me share it with you.
The story was about a husband and wife who had been married for many years. The husband would bring breakfast-in-bed to his wife every morning without fail. This was all wonderful to the wife except for one problem; The husband when making toast would always use the ends of the loaf of bread–you know, the part where it’s all crust. So one morning after years of breakfast-in-bed, the wife gently confronted him.
She said, “Dear. I can’t take it anymore. We have been married for such a long time and you know I don’t like the ends of the bread loaf. Why do you always keep bringing them to me?”
The husband was stunned for a moment. And then sheepishly replied, “It’s because the ends are my favorite part.”
What do you think?
Some people who hear this story immediately have compassion for the husband because of his wonderful heart that was willing to sacrifice the part of the bread loaf he loved best for his wife. While others think that she was dishonoring him by waiting so long to speak her mind. Maybe she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Or maybe she was wondering if he would ever get it.
The truth here is regardless of their intentions, the easiest solution was for the husband to have paid attention to what his wife really liked and delivered on it. He should realize that although his intentions were good, his actions really were the issue. In many ways, it was a false sacrifice on his part.
I share this story with you because I believe this is why M_DNA is so important. Our “motivational DNA” is driven by what we believe is good. The intentions are good. But intentions only get you so far. The true sacrifice is in the ability to know what actions will truly resonate and align with the other person’s motivational DNA.
Let me give you a personal example. My primary motivational profile is UCD (unyielding conviction & design). I am hardwired to be blunt and see the world in black and white. Relationships are not as important to me as ideologies. Therefore I tend to just shoot my mouth off point-blank and tell people where they are wrong and how to fix it.
My intentions are to see others solve their problems and become who they were meant to be. My intentions are good and aligned to who I am.
But let’s bring my wife into this story. She is an MCF primary (merciful compassion & fulfillment). To her, fixing problems are not as important as being in relationships. So she is often appalled by my lack of sensitivity and my willingness to risk relationships over my convictions. To her, my actions can come across very unloving as a husband.
Do you see where respecting her M_DNA profile is important? Yes, she may have problems that need to be fixed. But if I really wanted to demonstrate my commitment to her as a husband, I would be very careful to couch everything rationally (or just shut up altogether), when it comes to sharing my convictions despite how justified I feel my intentions are.
You see, we all want to be judged for our intentions. But it’s our actions that speak the loudest. Sure, we should take people’s intentions into account. (My wife does this all the time when I rant and rave about something.) But we must be responsible for our actions as well.
Understanding what motivates you and how this is totally different than what motivates somebody else is the first step in very fulfilling relationships.
Don’t let something like a slice of toast ruin your breakfast in bed.