MERCY – The Marriage Education & Resource Center

Strengthening Families … One Marriage at a Time

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A Little More Authentic

A woman with a counselor

I used to hate it when they would go around the room and ask us to read.  I knew I  wasn’t going to be able to pronounce some of the words. For everyone else the words just seemed to roll off their tongues.  But not me. I would attempt to pronounce the word, but normally come across as pretty dense.  So what a relief it was to know someone else struggled with this same issue. My friend recently confessed she too knew exactly how I felt.  I was not alone. I had a dense friend. No not really.  See we both learned to read by sight not phonetically as most kids learn today.  The point I’m trying to make is it helps to know we are not alone. It’s comforting to know others have felt as I felt.  This may be true for you in your marriage.  Have you ever thought you are the only one who feels the way you do sometimes about your spouse or your relationship?  If that’s the case, realize you have company. We just want you to know at MERCY you are at a safe place. We are all on a journey trying to do our best.

Communication starts early

shutterstock_285945059One complaint we often hear from couples is how negative their spouse is and how he/she comes across when talking to them.  It reminded me of something I recently heard that happened between a father and his two-year old daughter. The father said his daughter turned to him and said, “Don’t talk to me!”  In return the father explained, “You don’t talk that way to Daddy.”  Well, I over analyze everything so I started thinking is this going to communicate to her that she can’t express how she feels?  I’m afraid the issue is not so much she can’t express her feelings, but rather how she needs to express them differently.  For example, he could have shared with her, “When you don’t want to talk, say Daddy, I don’t want to talk right now.”  Or, “Daddy, I don’t feel like talking now.”  We’re thinking these type of comments would come across less offensive. Perhaps if we started telling our children, at a very young age, how to better express their feelings, we would have less adults feelings disrespected in their marriages by their spouse.

Recognize, Stop and Figure it Out

shutterstock_61791019 exit couple

We know lots of relationships skills and we know when we use them they make all the difference in the world.  We just have to buckle down and use them.  We did that today.  We worked through an issue using several of the skills we have learned over the years.  It was a great experience and we each took ownership of how we contributed to the problem and what we were each willing to do about it.

I don’t have space here to explain the specifics so I’ll give you the basics and, if interested, you can google and read more about them and try these techniques to see if they don’t work for you.  Try them.  We think you will like them.  The tools we used were first, understanding what the experts call the “Fear Cycle.”  Then, identifying what’s behind the fear.  After that, we talked through our reactions using “I” messages and reflective listening.  After we had a good understanding of where the other was coming from, we used the ten-step plan for problem solving.  Ta Da = issue resolved and we are happy campers.