Marriage is so great, but also difficult at times.
The night before Christmas Eve, I totally lost it on my husband. Perhaps all the shopping, gift wrapping, cookie baking and all attempts to make Christmas special in the midst of a global pandemic had taken a greater toll on me than I realized.
My husband brought up an ongoing issue (the laundry). Not only was I drowning in chores, preparing to host our family for Christmas Eve, and wrapping up homeschool for our three daughters, I was also recovering from a stomach virus.
Why wasn’t it obvious to him that I was struggling to keep up with it all?
The truth is, I had been struggling with all the things long before Christmas. My husband always came home to a messy house, no dinner and unfolded laundry sprawled all over our bed.
We were both exhausted from the constant chaos.
We both felt unheard and misunderstood. I didn’t like how he was trying to help, and he didn’t like how I was doing things. We went around in circles for months, both becoming more bitter towards the other.
How Can We Best Resolve These Issues in Marriage?
If we aren’t careful, seemingly small issues (like the laundry) can quickly escalate. When that happens, it can cause bitterness and hurt towards one another.
How can we address these issues before they become too out of control? Below are a few ways we have learned to better communicate with one another.
Address the small issues quickly
I’m guilty of mulling over a small issue for way too long. However the longer we wait to resolve an issue, the more it builds.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned that a believer who harbored anger against a brother or sister was just as guilty in God’s eyes as a murderer. Since that is how God sees your anger, how important is it to get rid of it quickly?
Listen carefully- without being defensive.
When the other person states their concern, don’t get defensive. Instead, repeat their concerns back to them. Too often, my husbands says one thing, and I hear another. By repeating back their concern, you bring assurance that you both understand how the other person is really feeling.
Propose a solution.
Once you both feel assured you understand one another’s concern, propose a solution. What would you like to be done differently? This is the time to share what changes you would like to see or commit to making.
Forgive and move forward.
True forgiveness is difficult. It’s more than saying you are sorry, then going to your friends and continuing to complain about the issue. When we forgive, we must commit to moving forward together.
Thriving Together in Marriage
Marriage is a special gift. Like any special gift, marriage needs to be handled with care. Caring for things takes time, energy, consistency and effort. In order to give our marriages the care they needs, we must work with our spouse on how we can best care for them.
Here are some practical ways to do this:
- Commit to one night a week
- Be willing to say no to other things
- Plan in advance for your date night.
- Sexual Intimacy
- Have fun together
Looking for more resources on how to have a thriving marriage? Below are my top 10 favorite resources!