Stress and conflict in marriage is inevitable. Whenever you have two people, with free will, living together arguments are bound to happen. In fact, if you tell me that you and your spouse never argue or fight then I say that one of you does not have the freedom to think for yourself. But, there are some skills we can learn to improve our marriage and protect it from harm. Here are three skills that will improve your marriage now:
Put Yourself in Their Shoes; be empathetic.
Many times when we argue we only see our side of the issue. What’s more, we get extremely emotional about “our side” of the argument. Marriages that work have partners who can look at the viewpoint of the spouse and really try to see life through their lens.
Some time ago, my wife and I had an argument that for a few weeks (yes, I said weeks) neither of us would budge. It wasn’t until I put myself in her shoes, saw the disagreement from her point of view, that I really understood “her side”. I had to be willing to not win the argument.
Above All Else Guard Your Heart; learn to manage your stress.
When we’re stressed and exhausted we tend to be short and rude with the ones we love. We can fake it with the people we work with a little longer because we know we will be headed home soon. But many times when we are frazzled and physically drained we get home and become short-tempered with the ones we love the most. I get it, I have done it myself. Nevertheless, if we work hard and learn to manage our stress we can take the junk that flies our way all day and still come home and be civil to those we love. How do we manage the stress? By guarding what is MOST precious to us, our spiritual/relational heart. The Bible says that Above ALL Else to guard our heart. Here are a few tips to do just that: Meditate on scripture verses and pray daily, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and get more sleep (7-8 hours every night). As you protect YOU the benefits will start to affect your relationships.
Change Your Thinking, Look for the Positives.
Life stress can cause us to focus on the negatives in our life. We start to get nit-picky about things that really don’t matter. I know, I do it – the dishes are not loaded into the dishwasher “correctly”, the clothes are not folded properly or the food in the refrigerator is out of place. I can become very OCD in a few moments when the stress in life starts to get turned up. Therefore, I need to focus on the positives and verbally affirm them. I can do it by thanking God for the countless blessing He has brought to me or I can verbally affirm Jen for the blessing she is in my life.
Philippians 2:3-5 (NLT) – Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
One Last Thought
I hope today’s post encouraged you to dig in and protect your marriage. Does your marriage need help? Give me a call and start making a positive change in your relationship today. I offer marriage consulting in my Traverse City Office or in my Virtual Zoom Online Office.