I bet when you read this you thought, “What?” When I say “fight” I’m not talking about a physical fight, but one of those inevitable disagreements we all encounter. In all honesty, we don’t have a lot of arguments, but when we do it causes us to take notice. Doing the kind of work we do at MERCY, it helps us understand how emotionally taxing it can be when you and your spouse aren’t getting along. It reminds us of how things can go from calm to loud in a matter of seconds. One says something; the other snaps back and off we go. Escalation has taken center stage. But it also forces us put those relationship skills we have been preaching to others into place. Take a time out! Huge! We need time to stop the drama and reflect. . .reflect on what happened, why it happened and pray the Lord will help us see the situation from the other’s perspective and that He will speak to our hearts as to what each of us needs to do differently. So for us, at least, good can often come out of those difficult situations.
We have been on a little rest and relaxation trip. When on vacation, my husband normally gets up before I do and heads to the pool. He left a note saying, “I’ve got everything.” Therefore, I was a little puzzled when I found two bottles of water still on the counter. So I figured he had forgotten them and took them out with me when I was ready to join him.
As I was walking toward him, he started shaking his head and I could tell by his expression he was irritated. “I told you I had everything!”
“Well, why were these (bottles of water) on the counter?” I asked.
“Oh, I guess I forgot them.”
I was tempted to give him back the same attitude, but instead I just touched one of the bottle to his stomach. He laughed. This humor broke what could have been a very different outcome.
Humor can be a great tool to limit emotional stress or prevent a situation from escalating But know the person and exercise common sense. Not everyone responds to humor so use it in the right moment and the right way.
Saturday, February 7 we will have been married 45 years. When we stood at that altar in Louisville, KY we had no idea what we were committing to. We heard what the minister was saying, but didn’t really understand what we were signing up for.
No one warned us that couples can go through something called the “misery stage.”
They failed to explain what Dr. Stanley outlines in his book, Heart of Commitment .
- Commitment Involves Choices – often hard choices. There’s a cost to commitment.
- Commitment is about Sacrifice – Becoming other-centered.
- Commitment is making your marriage a priority and investing in your marriage. It’s about seeking out services/help if it begins to break down.
- Commitment means giving up some other options and protecting others – especially true when the path you are on gets rocky.
- And commitment involves grieving some losses – being committed hurts at times. People change over time. Your mate may not be who you thought he/she was when you said “I do.” You have a choice. You can punish and resent your spouse for changing your dream or become more accepting. There are some things your mate may never be able to meet.
If I had known then what I know today, would I still say, “I do.” Yes, but I would be so much better prepared for this journey called marriage.