Changing the Hoop Filter

What comes to mind when you hear the word hoops? Hula hoop. Hoop earrings. Roller coaster hoops. For Casey, it’s used to be basketball hoops. He’s played for years and is also a coach so naturally that was his first thought.

Recently, this word has taken on a new meaning for him. In counseling (I’ll explain later), we often talk about how Casey sometimes filters what I say and turns it into a bunch of hoops for him to jump through. My needs become his task list. Is this context, hoops are not a good thing, especially not for a marriage. Our counselor always talks about the importance of me being me and Casey being Casey. When the “hoop filter” is present, that becomes difficult. I mean, who wants to be told what to do by their spouse and have more added to their plate? At least that’s how he interprets it. When what I say turns into hoops for Casey to jump through in order to keep me happy or maybe even just keep me from getting upset, those hoops very quickly become a 10 foot wall standing between the two of us – keeping us from connecting. Thankfully, our counselor was able to give us a new meaning for hoops or maybe he just eliminated the hoops all together. What were once hoops are now… wait for it… “opportunities for intimacy.” What a fabulous statement! Amazing how something so simple can begin to change one’s mindset. The natural tendency for Casey and for many people is to hear someone’s need and transfer them into a task list. That doesn’t make one excited about fulfilling that need now does it? With a change of perspective, those hoops can become opportunities for intimacy – open doors for emotional connection. Don’t get me wrong, it will take time to eliminate the hoops, but we’re both working on seeing needs through the new “opportunities for intimacy” filter.  One hoop at a time.

About Shana Bresnahan Interactive media evangelist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that truly loves life, loves God and loves others. Wife to Casey. Owner of Minny. Aunt to 11. Advocate of transparency. (Opinions my own)
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3 Responses to Changing the Hoop Filter

  1. Pingback: The Art of Marriage « My Marriage in Motion

  2. @Lisa – Casey’s in bed so I’ll have to get back with a real-life example tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a hypothetical one.

    Shana: It upsets me that you made plans for Saturday without me knowing. We haven’t had quality time in forever.

    If Casey we’re in “hoop filer” mode, he will feel shame for not thinking about me which would make him feel guilty & inadequate which would lead him to withdraw. He would refrain from making plans with me because it would be a hoop to jump through to keep me from being mad at him. That would then leave me feeling more alone and hurt. Vicious cycle ensues.

    Here’s what it might look like with the “opportunity” filter.

    Casey: I’m sorry you feel hurt. I’m hearing that you’re feeling lonely and I don’t like that. What do you say I plan a special date for Saturday night?

    The key here is that he not only moves towards me physically with a hug or what not, but emotionally. Engage instead of withdraw.

    I’m no counselor, but this is how I get it. Hopefully tmrw I’ll have a real-life example he’ll be ok with me sharing.

  3. Lisa says:

    I’m interested to hear examples of some of your hoops and how you turned them into opportunities for intimacy…

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