There is a wrong way and a right way of letting go of the things that hurt you. When someone does us wrong or has bad behavior that offends us, we will often say “I just let it go,” or “I don’t even let it bother me.” But often when we think we are letting go of something that hurts us, the truth is the offence actually still has some effect on us and could be damaging to our future.
So what is the wrong way and the right way of letting something go?
Confronting your spouse about an important issue that must be addressed is a very difficult thing to do. And if it is not done properly and with love the results can take your marriage in the wrong direction. But when it is done right it will add a greater dimension of intimacy in your marriage.
On our post, How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism? I talked about the importance of handling constructive criticism well and the value it can add to your marriage. On this post I want to be very specific about how to confront your spouse without causing more damage to your relationship.
It is not easy to receive criticism even when it is constructive, especially when it comes from your spouse, the one you want nothing less than absolute acceptance and approval from. And it is not easy to give constructive criticism to your spouse without hurting your spouse’s feelings and coming across as disapproving and rejecting. But knowing how to give and receive constructive criticism is desperately needed for a marriage to grow in oneness as God has intended.
The struggle with feeling critical toward one another is very real in marriage, I don’t think anyone is immune from it. So the challenge we all face is knowing how to guard against allowing criticism to be used in a negative way that is hurtful and harmful to our marriage. While at the same time allowing constructive criticism to be used in a way that promotes growth and encouragement.
Every marriage should have a good balance of partnership and friendship. It is difficult and there are many couples who fail at it everyday, but it is possible.
Marriage is the only relationship where we should have both partnership and friendship. Ordinarily in any other relationship it is considered unwise to mix the two. A business partnership that starts from friendship will usually hurt the friendship and a partnership that develops into friendship can hurt the partnership. Unless everyone understands the difference and they are able to balance the two properly.
I remember when I was a kid the first time I was appointed to be the class monitor. It was first grade and I was the new kid in school after my parents moved us to a new city half way through that first year. The teacher had to leave the classroom and so as she named me the classroom monitor she gave me the instructions of keeping a watch on the rest of my classmates and report back to her any bad behavior such as talking or getting out of their seats. I didn’t like the job. I wanted all of the other kids in class to like me and I thought for sure that being a classroom monitor would be held against me.
For many years I struggled with loving my wife. I could always say it and most of the time I felt it, but the challenge for me was knowing how to show it in a consistent way that made sense. Even when I thought I was showing love in one way, my other actions would contradict me and cause Janet to question if I really loved her or not.
One of the problems I had with loving my wife and my children was the way I would lose my patience with them. They just never knew when my patience would run out and I would turn on them in some sort of harsh demanding way. I didn’t want to treat them badly and I had no excuse for it. So I just blamed it on my lack of patience.