September 24, 2013

Marriage Advice: Surviving Trials as a Team

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marriage advice

{Thank you to Diva Candice for the great image above!!}

Back in the Spring, I wrote a post relationship advice about the importance of teamwork in a marriage. It’s one of the most prevalent stumbling blocks in relationships, working together to face whatever may come your way. Today I want to talk specifically about facing trials as a team, and how easy it is to lose focus in the midst of difficult circumstances.

When couples face a difficult time in their marriage, the stress of whatever adversity they are facing chips away at the foundation of their bond. The pain, the hurt, and sometimes even just the process of getting over the emotional shock of a situation can be devastating to your relationship with your spouse. What’s the first reaction when you feel pain? You raise your defenses. It’s instinctual. We can’t help it. Whether it’s emotional or physical pain doesn’t matter. Our instincts kick in, and we do one of two things. We retreat to a solitary place to process our feelings and lick our wounds. Or we lash out at those closest to us.

The problem with the retreating method of survival is that the moment we recite our wedding vows, we are no longer a solitary human being. We become half of a whole. Chances are whatever the situation you are facing, your spouse is hurting too. I’ve seen this happen to couples before. They both retreat to deal with their hurt, all the while each leaving their other half to fend for themselves. What they are missing is that if they face this trial together, they will be infinitely stronger, gleaning not only strength but comfort and healing from one another.

Some of you are the quiet, retreating type. Others of you are like me. You react to hurt by lashing out with words or actions. You may storm off, slam the door, or say something hurtful birthed out of your own pain. When we lash out, it is almost always at the one closest to us, and that is often our spouse. In the midst of your frustration and anger, remember this – your spouse is not the enemy. When bad things happen to us, hurtful, painful, or frustrating things, we usually struggle with where to focus our anger, and as a result we focus on the one that wants to help us the most. But they are not there to hurt us. They want to help, to comfort, to lessen the pain or frustration we are feeling. They want to help us find a way through it.

So how do you keep from retreating or lashing out? The answer sounds simple, but isn’t always. You communicate. Learning how to communicate with your spouse takes practice. You communicate your feelings in a calm and courteous way, and then you lean on your partner for support. If they are in need of support as well, then you lean on each other. Facing whatever lies in your path is doable if you approach it as a team, not as enemies. Next time you feel the urge to lash out or retreat to your own corner, take a moment to breathe, look at your spouse and remember they are here to help, not hurt. They are not your enemy. They are your teammate, and together you can face whatever lies ahead.

Want more ways to improve your marriage? Don’t forget to check out my previous post on teamwork, or our post about learning to love yourself for your spouse’s sake!

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