We survived our vacation, and had a GREAT time! Thanks for being patient! 🙂
R. Rally the Troops
Got kids? Will travel! One of the very best things that a parent (husband/wife team) can do for their marriage is to always speak positively to the children about their mother or father and SHOW this positivity through action. NEVER forget to advocate for your home team! Daddy is doing HIS BEST and mommy is too! Take your children on road trips with you, sales calls (mom and kiddos can play in the car, honest), have a lunch appointment? Why not bring the family and have them sit in another section of the restaurant or go next door? If you cannot be in a “family business” together, try treating your family as your #1 business, and you will be on the same page in NO time.
S. Set the DATE
Every couple needs to continuously DATE each other. The reality is that the children are going to grow up and move out, and if you don’t continue pursuing each other, when the kids are gone you will be strangers. Dating mommy and daddy alone can be hard, (and expensive) but it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Try trading sitting services with a neighbor to keep the cost down. If you have a child who is quiet and sits and colors during dinner know that THIS IS NOT A DATE. You need to be free to give googly eyes, talk about those bedtime moments, and most importantly RELAX. Also, it is important to realize that KIDS NEED TIME away from parents too! Kids need to learn how to be equitable around other adults and even the teenage babysitters can be a fun reprieve for most tots and kids. So when’s the next date night? Movie, dinner, pizza? ENJOY! (Once a week is preferred but once a month REQUIRED!)
T. Take the FIRST step
In my book, Wholehearted, I write in it some tips for helping resolve arguments in marriage and in order to encourage spouses to take the first step in resolving arguments:
Five Key Phrases to Calm-Down any Fight and Regain a Confident Relationship
1. “Can you please forgive me?”
Try using this instead of “I’m Sorry.” When you ask for someone’s forgiveness, immediately you are assuming responsibility for the offense, and it will cause the other person to have to say “Yes,” or “No.” Giving you more to talk about while you are working through your issue of contention.
2. “I understand how you feel, that would make me feel the same way too.”
Earnestly try and empathize with those that could be upset with you. Consider the “Big-Picture” of their issue. Why they are losing their patience with you? What has happened in the past that might be instigating their lack of confidence in you, is it still an issue? It might just be that they are tired, hungry, angry, or even lonely.
3. “I am sorry I disrespected you,” or “Can you please forgive me for showing you disrespect?”
Any time you mention respect to a man, you are speaking his language. Women respond to emotions like men respond to respect. As a woman, when you choose to apologize for disrespecting your husband, you are communicating to him effectively that your lack of confidence is not from his ability to perform or provide. In turn, women like be shown respect as well, you can show your wife you respect her by choosing to meet her needs, emotionally.
4. Wives, you may want to try this “Could you please help me understand where you are coming from? Is there a key issue, or bottom line that you would like me to understand?”
Even though this sounds more professional than marital, understand that when your husband is upset with you, or something you have done, he immediately will shut down and go into a work mode. He may come off icy at best, and will portray a professional demanding attitude. After all, this is how he deals with conflicts daily. Don’t be surprised if he begins to talk to you as a secretary or employee. If that happens, just try and stay as emotionally solid as possible, and play the role back to him. Because you have maintained equilibrium in the heat of an argument, your husband will learn to respect you, and feel respected at the same time.
5. Husbands, you may want to try this “Is there anything I can help you with? I understand that you are under a lot of stress right now with ‘xyz’, (try and be specific it will be more endearing and show that you have been listening) I would like to give you all of my attention until we can get this situation resolved… please show me again where and how I can help.”
If the situation has gotten beyond the ability to talk, do not be afraid to go up to your wife and give her hug, and let her cry. Most often the response when people get offended is to run away and shut off their tender mercies, but never underestimate the power of an authentic embrace. Sometimes that is all women need!
U. Understand where your spouse is coming from
How old was your spouse when their dad died? How long ago was their divorce? How many partners where they with before they married you? How young where they when you first met? Sometimes it is too easy to have tunnel vision and forget that our spouses, have had DIFFERENT life experiences than us. Even though as individuals we try really hard to overcome, these issues and the baggage from the past can creep up on us and get in the way of us having happier times. Know that this has NOTHING and EVERYTHING to do with you. It has NOTHING to do with you in regards to the fact that your spouse has had negative things out of your control happen to them. It has EVERYTHING to do with you in regards to the fact that your negative behavior is drawing out their issues. While it is always important for one to come face to face with the past, try to be a loving spouse and not be the cause of these painful flashbacks. The Lord will bring these issues to the surface in His OWN time… you really don’t need to be the one to provoke them. Understand your spouses issues, and leave “the fixing of them” up to God alone!
V. Visualize the future
Seeing past the ends of our noses can be hard enough let alone seeing the ends of our lives! But do your best to imagine it if you can! Taking the time to pause and visualize as a couple where you are going is long-term critical (especially if you have chosen to see divorce as a non-option). Can you see sitting on the front porch of your house in your nineties rocking in a rocking chair and drinking a mint iced tea with your spouse? Can you see those Great-great-grandkids running around on your property? There you and your spouse are; sitting, rocking, breathing in rhythm together. This is WHY you got married, to have someone to grow old with! I always envision holding hands as we rock in time together, looking out onto a crystal like lake with weeping willows all around us. Jeff and I leaning our old gray heads back on one of those really tall narrow ladder rockers. All our work is done for the moment, and together we sit basking in the Glory of old age in the Lord. Every couple desires to hear at the end of their marriage, “Well done good and faithful servant”, it isn’t too late for you. Forgive, and begin to visualize a forever TOGETHER.
W. Waiting is BEST
Waiting is waiting for a reason… to display character. A pregnant mother has 9 months in order to display to her family and the world her character and what kind of mother she is going to be. A potential father has 9 months to show to his wife how he will act as a new father. There is a period before you are hired, there is a period of waiting before you graduate, there is a period of waiting designed to abstain from sex before you wed… all in display of character. A future wife can tell how her husband will treat her and her children all by watching if he is able to restrain and self-discipline himself in regards to premarital sex. If he has no restraint for God’s Laws against fornication- than what will he display as a husband? If your future wife cannot wait to spend your monies, how will she be as a wife? Waiting is character building, and displaying. Is your future spouse worth waiting for? The same goes for married folks, are you willing to wait for promotion? Or have you made promotion a priority? I once heard a fellow say, “You can tell the size of a man best- by the size of the thing that makes that man mad.”
X. X-RAY your circumstances
There is a scripture that says, “A curse causeless shall not come” (Proverbs 26:2) in other words, negative things that happen in relationships (most always) are a result of something initially said or done that consequently ended up causing a negative reaction. What was it that was done initially to cause the rift in your relationship? If you can’t think of anything, ASK your spouse. If it is EVERYTHING, well then take a deep breath and ask your spouse if they can forgive you and what it is that you can do to make it up to them. What is their love language, gifts? Words of affirmation? Acts of service? Quality time? Physical touch? Knowing how to speak love to your spouse upon x-raying the cause of your out-of-sync-ness, and then “making the loss up to them” through genuine acts of repentance, will get you and your spouse back on track in a heartbeat! (Resource is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman)
Y. YELL from the roof tops!
EVERYTHING you do toward and for your spouse should SCREAM how much you love them! Think about it, if you and your spouse both made the best decisions that you KNOW would bless your spouse above yourself, where would your relationship be? For example, let’s say you want a black car… she wants a white car. What do you do? Well, when you both are loving on each other with exuberance from the roof tops- you SHOULD be at a stalemate in the dealership, until one of you says “Baby, I will love you regardless of color of car, if white would make you happy then I am happy!” If the two of you are so lovey that you can’t decide what to do, them by all means flip a coin or something! But LOVE each other in your expenditures, love each other in your decisions, love each other in your travels! Where does your spouse want to go? What does your spouse love to do? Arrange date days around each others interests and every date will be an exciting one! No one said there was anything wrong with going to the ballet one night, and a boxing match the other. You are two different people who are capable of loving each other just the way you are… just make sure you do it and LOVE with your WHOLE heart!
Z. Zealously LOVE God
Lastly, I think it is very important to mention that we are to love God FIRST. Every marriage is “fixable”, by the end of this series you will know it to be true. However, no marriage is fixable without FIRST loving God. Anytime you need to withdraw love from God’s spiritual account, He is there. Anytime you need to count on God for support, He is there. Anytime you need to put the breaks on in your relationship and seek advice, He is there. God is THE BEST marriage counsellor around! He and His Word will ALWAYS be there for you and your entire family and all of your relationships! If there is a problem that you can’t seem to shake: adultery, pornography, lust, lasciviousness, alcoholism, debt, drugs, miscarriage, abuse, neglect… all of these things and then some can be turned toward Christ for FULL and complete healing. What is required? YOU. You turning your life over to the King of Kings and not being afraid of loss. There is ONLY ever gain for those who surrender to Christ. Begin to put His Word deep inside your heart, and watch what a man or woman in service to the Master can do. Those around you will either see your light and RUN for the hills (for fear of changing themselves) OR they will be drawn unto you and fall at the feet of the Master themselves. (Even those who run from righteousness will eventually turn to the Lord with time, be patient) Zealous love and pure faith comes with a price, giving God ALL control. This is THE BEST WAY to ensure that you and your spouse will get onto the same page… PERIOD.
Please stay tuned in for our next in this series, REAL Marriages, REAL Lives To continue in this series subscribe to email HERE
Previous posts in this series:
- What to Do If You Are Married to a Dream Stealer: Unevenly YOKED
- What To Do When You Are Married To A Dream Stealer: Part TWO: Why Can’t I Just Divorce My Dream Stealer?
- What to Do When You Are Married to a Dream Stealer: Part THREE: So I am Stuck Married, Now WHAT?
- The ABC’S of Getting on the Same Page With Your Spouse: A-I
- The ABC’S of Getting on the Same Page With Your Spouse: J-Q