The Power of Why

The Power of Why WP

Our three-year-old granddaughter has entered the ‘why’ stage. Parents everywhere know exactly what this is… the endless rounds of ‘but why?’ dialogue.

Sometimes, she just doesn’t like the answer to why she may not have a second piece of cake. Like the parable of the lazy judge, perhaps she can compel a more favourable response if she is persistent.

Other times, she’s curious about something in nature or human society and each answer opens a new question. Why do chickens lay eggs? Where does the chicken get the eggs? Why don’t people lay eggs?

In the end, no matter what the starting question, it seems to come back to one exasperated answer: Because that’s the way God made it!

“But why?” You’ll have to ask him!

Curiosity in marriage

A curious mind is a wonderful thing, not just for children but also for couples. Curiosity is what keeps us engaged and interested in each other.

Although we may think we know everything about the other, the reality is that we are each changing every day. Open-hearted curiosity motivates us to pursue deeper knowledge of the other and can help maintain our sense of wonder.

Without it, our marriage can become stale and, although we may be individually developing, our relationship can stagnate. Not only is that a boring outcome, it also puts our relationship at risk.

Asking Why

One of the relationship tools of SmartLoving is ‘Time out to ask why’. We use it when one is upset or there’s tension rising between us.

Rather than just burying it or pushing harder into an argument, we try to take a step back to privately ask ourselves some why questions: why am I reacting this way? Where is this coming from?

This practice frequently uncovers insights and unresolved frustrations from our formation history. These ‘light bulb’ moments are tremendously valuable and often lead to a complete resolution of the tension between us.

‘Time out to ask why’ is a simple self-awareness habit that helps us identify our subconscious drivers. It brings into our awareness our motivations, fears, needs, dreams, and assumptions so that we can see them more clearly.

It empowers us to own our reactions rather pushing all the blame onto our spouse for ‘upsetting’ us. For our reaction is not just about their words or actions. It’s also about our interpretations and expectations.

From there we can make choices about how we want to move forward. Instead of simply reacting, we can choose a response that is conscious and intentional.

That’s just the way God made me!

There’s lots of messaging in our culture around acceptance. This is an important aspect of how we express love towards another. Being loved and accepted with all our gifts, flaws, history, and limitations is profoundly affirming and healing.

However, equally, we all have the capacity to be so much more than we are right now. The idea that we should simply accept ourselves ‘as the way we are’ is a nihilistic idea that takes us nowhere. As Jordon Peterson reminds us: “You could be way more than you are!

Whether we’re thinking about our own interior life and mentality, or about our marriage, we can indeed be ‘way more than we are’. It’s part of our nature as human beings to seek after more.

In fact, aspiring to be better, to improve, to grow is a manifestation of our desire for the divine. God created us in his image, with the capacity and desire for infinite goodness, truth, and beauty.

So, take some time out to “ask why?”  It facilitates our self-awareness, empowers growth in our relationships and, like our little granddaughter’s honest enquiry, will ultimately lead us to God.

Why is that? Because that’s the way God made it!

Francine & Byron Pirola

Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links. For Media Enquiries Please Contact us here

Comment Policy

We love to hear your stories and ideas. Please keep your comments respectful, your suggestions productive and published under your own name. More info here

Leave a Comment