For many, getting married was going to be the ultimate lifelong bliss that each and longed for. We were going to be different from all of those other couples who seemed to fight and struggle with problems. We had found the one who would make us happy and we would not experience the difficulties that those around us seemed to encounter. While we undoubtedly realize how silly this may sound now, if we’re honest, we probably each felt that way in the beginning.
However, we have learned that when you live with someone long enough, you are certain to encounter turbulence. But what do you do when this happens? Many give up, runaway and end the relationship, or they hunker down, grit their teeth, and quietly (or not so quietly) seethe. Is there perhaps a better approach? I want to suggest a few things that just might help you to weather the storm and come out with your marital ship intact.
First, recognize that frustration and anger are normal emotions. Even the most loving couples experience them. However, knowing that they are normal and that you and your spouse still love each other, helps you to not panic when you experience them. Secondly, try not to get too hung up on demanding your rights and who is to blame. While we each have a natural propensity to do that, it rarely plays out well. Instead, be willing to be the first to break the ice and to make changes. I have seen individuals each close themselves in behind high walls, waiting for the other to change. This has sometimes gone on for years until all life has been sucked out of the marriage. Don’t let that happen. Initiate – and keep the walls from ever being built. And finally, cultivate humility. I Corinthians 13 says that love does not insist on its own way. There are times we need to acknowledge our mistakes and simply be willing to say “I’m sorry.” In doing so we let our partner know that he or she is more important than our pride.
Recognizing normal emotions, initiate change, and demonstrate humility. Your husband or wife is in the boat with you. Work together integrating the above tips, and see how much smoother sailing can be.