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"Honey, I really don't want a COVID-19 hairdo,” I said. “You have to help me out. It's looking rough.”
My wife furrowed her brow and looked at me out of the corner of her eye.
“I can’t cut your hair,” she said.
But I had no other choice. My barber is out of commission and buzz cuts make me look like I’m 12. That left me at the mercy of Raquel and a pair of unused clippers.
"OK, but you probably ought to sign a waiver before I do it. I can't guarantee anything."
Raquel asked me to find a good YouTube video on how to do a fade on the sides and keep it long on the top. I waded through a bunch of “do it yourself” videos until I finally settled on a video called “The Perfect Fade in 4 Minutes,” featuring a guy cutting someone’s hair in his kitchen.
I looked into the mirror and honestly said, “That’s one of the best haircuts I’ve ever gotten.”
Raquel watched the video a couple of times, picked up the clippers, turned them on, and went for it. And thank goodness, about 45 minutes later, I looked into the mirror and honestly said, “That’s one of the best haircuts I’ve ever gotten.”
More importantly, I walked away from the chair with some valuable lessons about giving and getting feedback from my wife:
1. I need my spouse’s feedback because I have blind spots that I can’t fix by myself. Like the back of my head, there are areas where my character needs development and I don’t notice them. My wife has a better vantage point than I do, so I need to pay attention when she points out unseen areas that need a "trim."
2. My point of view is still valuable. Even though my wife had a unique perspective on my hair, she didn’t know everything. There were a couple of times during my haircut when I had to stop her and tell her she wasn’t getting it right.
Working together on character development (or hair) isn’t a one-person job.
I know a lot about myself and if my wife is going to help me grow, she needs to be curious about my point of view. Basically, helpful feedback requires a willingness to be a good teacher and student.
3. My wife has blind spots, too. It’s no secret in our house that my wife’s hair isn’t looking that great since COVID-19 shut down her salon. In fact, it's been four months since she got it cut; and as a result, it’s lost its shape and split ends are cropping up.
Sometimes she makes an effort to style it; other times it looks like she just rolled out of bed and left it alone (because she did).
She has to be willing to hear my feedback without getting her feelings hurt. We all need to change, and if we’re willing to dish out the feedback, we’ve got to be willing to take it.
My resistance to COVID-19 hair was a success, thanks to some teamwork between my wife and me -- not to mention the “Perfect Fade” guy on YouTube (a reminder that sometimes we all need outside help).
I just had to trust that my wife was doing her best to help and be willing to share my point of view respectfully.
Most importantly, we both had to remember that if positive change is going to happen in us as spouses, it’s going to require us both to grow (or get a trim).