On our last post How Are You Two Related, I started talking about how in every marriage we have different and unique ways of connecting with our spouse. And that the important thing was to find your connection points and work from your place of strength as you work to improve other ways to connect with each other.
On this post I want to start taking a look at how we relate to our spouse in three major categories; friendship, partnership, and lovers. As far as I can tell, any connection we have with our spouse will always fit into one or more of these areas. But the challenge we face is understanding how to move in and out of each area and how to find good balance of all three ways of connection.
Janet and I are still going through the process of our first move in twenty years, so it has been hard for us to keep up with our writing or even posting pictures on FB. In light of what we are presently dealing with I thought I would share a few thoughts on a subject that has come up in our own marriage a few times over the years.
How does your spouse measure up? Is there something about your spouse you wish you could change? Is there something about them that drives you mad? Or have you reached a point where you find it hard to see anything good about them at all?
If this is you and you find yourself feeling disappointed because your spouse is not everything you expected them to be, you could be heading down a dangerous road right now. There are many reasons for a marriage to fall apart. But one of the most subtle ways that goes unnoticed is when a wedge is driven between husband and wife over lingering disappointments in each other.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Prov.18:21(NLT)
When I wrote the post “Held Together With Words,” I stressed the point of how valuable and powerful our words are and that it is with the words we speak that we create or tear down our own lives. I also talked about how important it is to maintain the integrity of our words by not contradicting ourselves with what we say.
So now I would like to go into a little more detail about our words. There are some words we should never use with our spouse, our children, or anyone else for that matter. It may sound funny for us as adults, but there are some Bad Words that we should not be using.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
It takes a plan to get somewhere in life. If we are driving to work or a store, or even on a long trip, we have to have some sort of plan to get us there. Our plan may be written down or it may be a mental image, either way we have an idea of how to get from where we are now to where we want to be.
Without a plan we could be going in any direction and have no idea where we will end up. Without a plan to give some structure to where we are going we will be like water that flows in any direction on a path of least resistance and always settling for the lowest point.
I have a very simple word of advise to give today; Don’t Let Your Spouse Become Your Enemy.
Everyone of us face our own difficulty. We may not be going through the same stuff, but I know each of us have challenges we all have to deal with. And I know those challenges seem to have a way of testing us in ways we never thought we would be tested.
Some of you may be dealing with some serious marriage issues that have you worried over how it will all work out. I know, I’ve been there, and it is certainty a tough place to be. But no matter what you are facing, you have to keep in mind that you and your spouse are on the same team.
“To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.” Francois de La Rochefoucauld
To have good communication you have to develop the skill of listening.
Very often in marriage the reason one spouse will not open up and talk is because they feel that when they do, they are not being listened to. They shut down and give up and they absorb themselves into something else they can succeed at. The frustration for the two of them grows and the bad habits of wrong communication grows as well.
Listening though, is not as simple as it sounds. Listening is about engaging your whole self and not just your ears.
Sometimes communication with your spouse can be very scary. You want to be open and honest with your feelings and your thoughts, but your afraid it will create more problems for you. You might even feel like you’re trying to walk through a mine field and your afraid if you say the wrong thing it will blow up in your face.
Can you say what you need to say without anyone getting hurt? Can you talk about what you really think or feel? Or will your words be used against you? Will you be ridiculed, insulted, or dismissed? These are very real questions that must be answered.
When Janet and I started dating it didn’t take long before we were feeling deeply in love. We both believed we had finally found that special person we could spend the rest of our lives with.
After eighteen months of dating, we were married and the roller coaster ride took off. We soon fell into destructive patterns where we thought everything was great at times and then other times we were separating and seriously flirting with divorce.