Tension. Every marriage faces it. It comes from no where and sometimes settles so thick you could cut it with a knife. Many use words instead, which cuts deeper and always leaves a scar.
Pandemics are like a boiler keeping the tension simmering. If your marriage hasn’t practiced healthy communication before the pandemic, such times will elevate the tension to a full boil. Most likely someone will get burned.
How do we manage marriage tension in the best possible way?
The first step is evaluating where your marriage is right now. Answer the following questions to see if any resonate with how you feel?
- Do you have any unresolved conflict?
- Do you avoid “going there” just to keep the peace?
- Do you feel invisible?
- Does your spouse miss opportunities to help you when needed?
- Do you go to separate parts of the house to relax?
- Do you wish things could be the way they used to be?
- Have you silently imagined what life would be like apart?
If you answered yes to any of the above, please know that your marriage is in trouble. The pandemic has magnified tension in a way nothing else has. Either you have been forced to be together more than you have in years, or you are both working so hard you haven’t had any time to connect.
What to do to help the home fires burn instead of tension.
- Plan time to talk about what you’re feeling. If you are afraid it will explode, ask some friends to be there to help you talk openly and honestly.
- Seek professional marriage help if needed
- Ask forgiveness when necessary. God gives grace to the humble. This doesn’t mean all the blame is yours, but it is acknowledging your part of the tension.
- Be a peacemaker, not a peace faker. A peace faker wants peace at any cost and is unwilling to have those difficult conversations. This is like someone ignoring their need for surgery to avoid the pain required. Surgical pain is what is needed to fix that which is broken. Marriage can require surgery in order to heal.
- Remember why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place. Many times when we are upset or hurt, all we can see is what we don’t like and forget what we love about our spouse.
- Do the things you did at first. Small kindnesses cultivate more kindness in return. Even if you don’t feel it, do it anyway. Our choices lead our emotions, not the other way around. It’s not being hypocritical to do something even if you don’t “feel it”. Our feelings will follow the choices we make.
- Pray and fast asking God to do the impossible. He is in the restoration business and with Him no marriage is too far for Him to redeem.
It breaks our heart to hear of marriages ending in divorce and children being divided between two households. Let’s be pro-active and work on the tensions this pandemic has revealed. It is much better to have sizzling intimacy than simmering conflict. Wouldn’t you agree?