YOUR MARRIAGE CAN SUCCEED
Quiet. Do you hear that? Do you hear those two clamoring voices in the background? It sounds like they are talking to one another but neither one is listening. How can they hear one another if they are both talking at the same time? How can they learn the other person’s point of view if they are both talking at the same time? How can they resolve the issue if they are both talking at the same time? They are not interested in hearing and understanding their beloved spouse’s point of view. Instead, they want to vehemently unleash their anger, frustration and disappointment upon one another. So as their spouse talks, they zone out. They hear each other but they really do not hear each other. They are destructively elevating their voice so that they can hopelessly get their point in.
Oddly enough, their views on the subject are not that far apart. However since they are not listening to one another, they are unable to receive and truly evaluate their beloved spouse’s point of view.
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James offers a solution to this counterproductive communication when he encourages us “to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger”. (James 1:19) James is challenging us to deny our selfish fleshly desire to unleash our fury upon our spouse and listen to one another. But you say “I don’t want to listen”. I agree. Who wants to listen when they are mad? However, it is listening that is the catalyst for identifying the issue from both parties perspective and then finding an agreeable solution. How many times have you spent hours arguing with one another without knowing the true issue? How many times have you ended the argument without a solid solution? How many times have you engaged in the same heated discussion over and over again?
By listening, we have the opportunity to hear and evaluate our beloved spouse’s view while learning their heart and becoming the “one flesh” the bible speaks of in Genesis 2:24. Sure, we will not agree with one another all of the time. But at least we understand each other’s point of view which provides us with the opportunity to find a prolonged solution that works for the both of us.
In addition, it is easier to manage our temper if we are listening attentively. Unbridled anger tempts us to say and do irrational things. We love our spouse but in the heat of the moment, we attempt to transfer our pain and frustration about the situation to our spouse. So we call them a name. We remind them of their various faults and short comings. We slam our fist against a wall or table. We shove or hit them.
Don’t let anger get the best of you. Learn to recognize when you are getting hot before your pot boils over. Just because you are angry does not mean you have to act upon that anger. The bible says “be angry but sin not”Ephesians 4:26. That may require you to swallow some pride, hold your tongue and walk away until you calm down. I know that sounds weak but it is a strong man or woman who can control their emotions. It is a strong man or woman who can recognize their boiling point and then take the necessary steps to squelch it.
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Now let me get gender specific here. Ladies, if your husband recognizes that he is reaching that boiling point and begins to walk away, let him go. Don’t walk behind him hurling insults that you know will attack his character and increase the temperature in the room. Sticks and stones WILL break our bones and words DO hurt.
After you have walked away, the conversation is not over. You may not want to talk about it any more but in order to resolve the issue and strengthen the relationship, you have to return and address the issue. It would also behoove you to take the initiative in restarting the conversation. You are the leader of the home and the one who walked away. Thus, it is your responsibility to restart the conversation. I know that it is easier to sweep the issue under the rug. Unfortunately those issues do not stay under the rug. They slowly ease their way out causing distance, enmity and resentment in the relationship.
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We do not have to live this way. When the inevitable disagreement arises, we encourage you to attentively listen to one another before you express yourself in words or actions that you cannot get back. While powerful, anger is not overwhelming. We can control our tempers. The key is recognition followed by productive action. Apply these steps and watch Your Marriage Succeed.
Also share your experience with us in the comment box below, God bless you and your marriage!