The word “dumb” usually has such negativity attached to it that you may be wondering what it has to do with creating a great relationship.
In Susie’s family, her dad and his younger brother affectionately called each other “big dummy” and “little dummy”–when they did something that wasn’t very smart or for no reason at all.It was a way that they lovingly made fun of each other.
But we realize that not every situation where one person calls another “dumb” is meant in fun.
In fact, it can be downright hurtful and a trigger for all sorts of problems.
But consider this about the word “dumb” or any other word that might be a trigger word for you…
Take the trigger out of it.
That’s right, one way to take the emotional trigger out of a word or a belief is to play with it and turn its meaning around so it loses its emotional charge around it.
For our purposes here, we’re going to turn the meaning of “dumb” around to mean it’s okay not to know.
Sometimes being “dumb” or “not knowing” in your relationship really is the smart thing to do.
Sometimes being “dumb” can actually help you create closer and more loving relationships.
We’re not talking about dumb as in “dumb blonde” jokes kind of dumb.
We’re talking about is how smart it is to sometimes be “dumb”–or not knowing–on purpose…
Here are some really good examples of how being “dumb” could be a good thing…
1. It’s smart to be “dumb” in your relationship by not fixing your partner (or anyone else).
So often, we know exactly what the other person SHOULD do and how he or she should live and act. We offer unsolicited advice when we aren’t asked and we try to push our ideas on the other person because we KNOW what they should do.
Sometimes we rush in so fast to “help” the other person that he or she doesn’t have the opportunity to work it out for himself or herself–or ask for the help.
We know that this “help” is well-meaning and usually given in a loving way–BUT
If “fixing” and the unsolicited help is constant, the message that the other person gets is “I’m not enough.”
We know that it’s difficult to hold back when you think you have the answer for someone else.
But your relationships will be filled with more ease if you can pull your energy back, wait, and ask before you start giving the advice.
2. It’s smart to be “dumb” in your relationship by not making assumptions about what your partner is thinking or his or her motivations.
After being in a relationship for several years, most of us fall into the trap of thinking we know exactly what the other person is thinking and the motivation behind his or her actions.
The truth is we can never know exactly what’s going on inside another person, no matter how many years we’ve been together.
So it’s “smart” to be “dumb” when it comes to thinking you know the insides of your partner.
The rule is to ask before you assume and don’t make up stories in your head that may or may not be true.
When you begin to make up a story, get curious instead.
Ask yourself–“I wonder why he (or she) said or did ________?”
Then ask from a place of curiosity and being interested rather than “checking up” on him or her.
You could say–“I noticed __________ and I’m wondering if you would satisfy my curiosity about it so I won’t make up assumptions that aren’t true.”
To learn more about how to use these “Magic Words” and phrases, check out our Magic Relationship Words.
3. It’s smart to be “dumb” in your relationship by speaking your truth and showing your authentic self.
Some relationship advice we’ve heard says that it’s smart to hold back part of yourself and not share what’s on your mind.
We can understand that in some cases, if you fear for your safety or the safety of your children, speaking your truth may not be smart.
(If you can identify with this, start making plans and take action right now to create a life that is safe for you and your children.)
But if safety isn’t your concern and you find that the two of you have gotten into the habit of not sharing what’s really important with each other (it’s easy to happen)…
Think about how you can begin to start sharing a bit of what’s authentic and real for you.
That’s the smart thing.
If this is an issue in your relationship–that the two of you are good “house-mates” but intimacy is lacking–we suggest you start slow and small.
Don’t start with “We have to talk…”
That’s a death phrase to intimacy.
Start by simply sharing something small that you haven’t shared with your partner before and then watch and see where there are openings between the two of you to get closer.
For more ideas about how to start sharing with one another when it’s been difficult, check out our Stop Talking on Eggshells program.
Being “dumb” can be oh so smart in your relationships in other ways too..
To the parent who felt abandoned as a child and is afraid she’ll lose the love of her husband or kids …
It may seem like the dumbest thing ever to set and enforce a boundary with their children. But in most cases, setting and enforcing boundaries will be one of the smartest things you’ll ever do in relationship with anyone.
To the man who’s afraid of losing his job when there are bills to pay and groceries to buy… it may seem like the dumbest thing ever to stand up for himself at work (especially to his boss).
The smart thing is to NOT play it safe and really get out of his comfort zone, contribute, rock the status quo and be someone who shakes things up or is an idea generator.