If everyone reading this were to answer that question, I would probably get hundreds of different responses. For example, some might say, “Well, we sit down and calmly talk about where we disagree and try to come to a compromise,” (this couple we get an “A”). Others might say, “We just yell until our voices give out, then we go to different rooms.” Or yet other individuals may respond, “Work out our differences? Are you kidding me?”

What can frequently, and way too easily, happen for lots of couples is an avoidance of tackling differences for fear of making it worse. But, as one California psychologist states, “When couples stop trying to work out their differences and revert to passivity to keep the peace, they hold more and more inside of them and their alienation grows. The frustrations tend to leak out through sarcastic, taunting remarks, thinly veiled criticisms, or increasing inattention to the other’s needs.”

Those couples who learn to address problems as they arise, as opposed to allowing them to build, report greater satisfaction with their marriage relationships. While this is no surprise, it can still be easier said than done. Yet, when encountering differences, if we can honestly strive to understand our spouse’s needs more than we pursue getting our own point across, we begin the process of bridging the “difference” gap.

This week I encourage you to avoid passivity and initiate discussions that can lead to greater understanding and resolution.

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