This is Lisa Graf’s (Mom Blog) and my 3rd collaborative post on Wedded Bliss Wednesdays. Lisa’s part is in purple and my part is in red. We pray you will find encouragement to help you turn down the heat when it is rising!
A marriage is a 24/7/365 kind of relationship. Unfortunately, disagreements are inevitable. So here are the ways Lisa & I would encourage you to tackle your disagreements with your spouse.
First of all, the best piece of advice I took away from some much needed marriage counseling about 3 years into my marriage; never ever use the word YOU when in a heated discussion with your spouse. I think of Matthew 7:1-5. We often are quick to point out the faults and planks in our spouse and much slower to accept responsibility of our own shortcomings. Discussing an issue with your spouse will be far less heated if you a) take responsibility for your part of whatever happened or your role in the decision that needs to be made b) you do not put your spouse into defensive mode c) think a little longer/more before speaking.
Having children not only opened a new chapter in my husband’s and my life; it also opened a whole new can of worms. Many of our heated discussions have taken, take, and will probably continue to take place over parenting issue. The quicker you come to terms with it being ‘ok’ that your spouse doesn’t parent the same exact way you do, the less heated your discussions will become. It’s not as though your 6 month old will turn 16 on his/her next birthday; but the sooner you and your spouse flesh out expectations for various parenting situations (when your child gets a cell phone, when they can date, when they can get their temps, when they can get a car, when they can go on a sleep over…) the better. It’s of the utmost importance to form a strong parenting team ready to tackle parenting situations if you don’t want your children to come between you & your spouse. It’s also extremely important to be proactive on the parenting front, foreseeing possible issues so you can avoid reactive parenting.
I am the kind of person who will pick up 1,039 socks off the floor without saying a word, but when I spot the 1040th sock, I flip my lid and it’s usually compounded to the 1,039th degree! Although, this is the most difficult challenge in my marriage; I find that discussions are far less heated when I take time and communicate through possible issues before they become an issue. It’s also important to go straight to your spouse when you have an issue. I took a Resolving Conflicts class at my church and learned the Biblical approach to resolving conflicts, which was extremely helpful in all areas of life. Matthew 18:15 directs us to confront whoever has offended/sinned against us directly. Going to your mom, dad, best girl friend, random person you meet at a park, your inlaws, anyone other than your spouse; is detrimental to your relationship. Not only do you dishonor your spouse, you taint others’ relationship with your spouse. So when you find sock #1, go to your spouse, explain that you would greatly appreciate it if they could place the sock in the proper place because it’s important to you and then leave it at that. Don’t harp, nag, get emotional, or do anything irrational. Trust that your spouse respects you and what’s important to you and leave it at that. Remember to be full of grace, mercy & understanding, too! 🙂
I want to refer you to a post we wrote a couple of months ago on this very topic. It was from our Proverbs series – chapter 14 to be exact. The most important thing to realize about conflict resolution in marriage is that it is plain hard work. This is the part of our wedding vows where we said “for worse and for poorer.” This is where we prove that the promise we made on our wedding day was something we meant, and that it’s a promise we have vowed to keep – forever.
Stay tuned as next week Debi & I will tackle turning UP the heat, and we are not talking about the discussion kind of heat, either!
This is post #19 in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge to post everyday in October.