One of the most painful relationship battles can come from one you love most.
Honestly? I wasn’t prepared for the reality of merging two very different people into one unit after we married. Those quirks you don’t see until you live together – such as being messy/clean, an introvert/extrovert, or spender/saver – can become full blown battles in the blink of an eye.
I should know. The time our rent cheque bounced due to insufficient funds due to a non urgent car repair almost blew my top right off soon after we were married, and could have led to an even worse battle the next time we encountered a difference of opinion if it wasn’t for two things.
I sought wise counsel, and forgave my husband wholeheartedly.
That didn’t mean we didn’t set up a boundary or two as to how we now handle money, but it does mean I don’t bring it up to throw in his face when a current talk about money gets a bit heated.
You see, I can take an awful lot before I blow, but it isn’t fair that not taking out the trash when asked becomes a sudden verbal attack as I release of weeks of my kept in pent up frustrations at my husband.
Because we all know first hand that words hurt and can divide, as well as they can heal and offer hope.
When my husband and I have a disagreement, there are a few boundaries or guidelines which I follow, learned from years of experience and study. Not all of them apply to every marital spat, but I have tried to list them together in a way which makes sense to me and hopefully you!
- Could what we are fighting about make or break us relationally? Is a law being/about to be broken? Is there a possibility this could escalate to risk physical, emotional, mental safety? If yes to any of these, immediately seek safe counsel or a safe place, as this is an indicator that things are not healthy for you together.
- Is this a moral issue? What does God have to say about it? Will this become an underlying current of stress/pain to you? If you answered yes, follow His lead as He guides you through this disagreement.
- Whenever you can, hold hands and sit beside one another when you have a disagreement. This can help remind you both that you love one another and you want a healthy marriage.
- Start any discussion with an honest prayer, and confirming what you do appreciate about one another before bringing up a hot topic. Make it about your feeling versus accusatory in word choice.
- Fight fair. Only discuss the current issue. If you can’t, you need to spend some time with God. Forgive the hurts from the past, and ask God help you stay focused on the now.
- If you need to, see a counselor. Start separately if you need to. Be open to going together if recommended.
- If you can, let it go. If this discussion doesn’t matter in the long term health of your marriage (as in your husband prefers white t-shirts, black cars and thinks burgers is a high class meal out) then don’t make a big deal of it.
- If you do not have the time to properly discuss something, do not bring it up in passing. Make a date to meet and talk things out without distractions.
- Realize that this is a lifelong lesson you will both be learning. Ask His help to learn any lesson He has for you the first time you experience it.
- Realize that God is a part of your marriage, even if your spouse is not a believer. For YOU are His temple, where He lives. He is with you wherever you are, so never forget to ask for His guidance in your marriage.
(And friend? I am not making light of the fact that many of you are in or have been in marriages where there is or has been abuse, addiction, and or adultery. This is a general guideline. Obviously, specifics would change depending on more serious situations. Please, friend, if this is you? Stay safe, get help, and seek His healing. )
Tomorrow, I’ll be discussing what I have learned about spiritual battling.