Communication: A Two-Way Street (Part Two) Considering the Male Factor

feelings

As promised in my previous post we will continue to address communication and focus on what culture has done to inhibit male communication as well as how transparency can cause communication to blossom.

For men, expressing how we feel about things can be a foreign concept. Uncomfortable to say the least. Some men are raised to conceal their true feelings. In fact, our society seems to recognize only one acceptable male emotion: anger. Look at the movies we watch; you rarely see the men in films express emotions other than anger. It’s hard to imagine Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, or any of the males represented in movies say, “Please pass me a tissue.” Guys, take a deep breath; it’s just you and me here. Guy to guy, can you honestly say that you have no other emotions? You’ve never experienced fear, frustration, anxiety, or any number of other feelings? Of course not!

Men experience the same range of emotions that women do. The problem is that they tend to filter and display their emotional responses through anger, and that way nobody will think they are weak. How weak is that? Let’s understand that men are not women, nor should they behave like them. However, many men need to step out of the fear of what other men think and learn a lesson in transparency, most definitely in your marital relationships.

Few men would consider David of the Old Testament a weak example of manhood. From his youth, David’s journey exemplified masculinity—giant killer, anointed king, strong leader and motivator, a man after God’s own heart. He was courageous yet benevolent, definitely a man’s man. David was not perfect; he had many setbacks as well. David was a man of passion who had no problem expressing himself emotionally.

I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Psalm 6:6-7

David was able to lay it all out before God with honesty and transparency. This is what our wives want from us, honesty and transparency. They want to be let into our world, and they want us to be part of their world. Showing love to your partner involves taking the time to listen to them and hear what they have to say.

Trust is only built from a level of transparency. Having said that, we need to understand that both spouses must be a safe haven for communication and honesty. Communication is a two-way street. The sender of a message has to feel safe in being assertive, or stating what they want and need in their relationship. You may not always get what you want, but you should have no fear of expressing those wants and needs to your loved one. An example of an assertive statement might go like this: “I realize that you would like to get a hamburger for dinner, but we always go for burgers. I was hoping we could do something a little more fancy, something we seldom do. Would you be okay with going for sushi?”

©2018 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Assertiveness, Behavior, Beliefs, Communication, Differences, Emotions, Male Leadership

Communication: A Two-Way Street (Part One) “Listen Up!”

distractions

In these next few consecutive blogs I would like to address one of the greatest causes of divorce in our country and perhaps offer some guidance while helping you stay on the matrimonial road. Poor communication skills destroy families every day, let’s begin with a story…

You can imagine the scene. Husband is sitting on the sofa enjoying his midseason ritual. It’s a close game. The score is 6-7 and a man is on third base, edging to come home. “What’s that noise?” Here comes the right fielder, his turn at bat, and the pitch. Ground ball between the first and second basemen, quickly picked up, and the ball is feverishly thrown home. To no avail; the guy on third slides into home plate and is safe! The husband wonders, What is that low annoying murmur? The catcher throws the ball to first, again too little too late. Safe! The score is now tied, 7-7. Up to the plate comes the short stop, the guy’s got a powerful swing. With increasing irritation, the husband mutters, “There it goes again.” The pitcher winds up and throws; it looks like it’s going to be right in there. The swing and a hit. Crack! A good solid hit. It’s going, going, going… That sound again, like a hive full of bees swarming in my head. Why won’t it stop!

This scene captures what it’s like when some wives try to communicate with their husbands. It doesn’t have to be an important ballgame, it could be just about anything—anything that’s given priority over communication between a husband and wife. Incidentally, the roles in this scenario and the specifics can easily be reversed, lest we think men are the only guilt culprits of poor communication. We are now going to examine the fine art of hearing and being heard by our spouse.

A variety of issues can interfere with effective communication in one’s marriage. They can derive from extended family interference, friendship interference, issues of guilt and shame, faulty perceptions of God, family of origin issues, an ex-spouse, lies a person believes about themselves, and many, many other things. Every one of these issues can cause cracks in the dynamics of communication.

It’s funny how many parents demand excellent listening skills from their children yet fail to demonstrate them in their own marriage relationship. Again, we are called to be an example to our children. When your spouse wants to talk with you and share how they feel about a particular issue, show your love for them by making it important to you. If you have something to say, you expect their attention. Agree to talk after the children go to bed, turn off the television, put down the newspaper, stop clipping coupons, just stop. Eliminate outside distractions so that you are in a state to hear what your spouse has to say.

Body language says a lot about your interest in the other. Turn toward your spouse, use eye contact, and show your interest. Husbands, if it seems your wife is agitated, take her hand and sit with her. There is a great calming effect in human touch, even if you are the cause of her aggravation.

For many of us who have never spent much time thinking about such things, this seems very awkward. Just because something seems awkward does not mean it is wrong. Many of the things discussed in these next few blogs will take time to develop into a level of comfort, but do them anyway. Remember, at this point it’s not about doing what’s comfortable (that’s what’s gotten us into trouble to begin with)—it’s about doing what is right.

Let’s identify some of the impediments to healthy communication in your relationship. You and your spouse each get a sheet of paper. Draw a half-dollar size circle in the middle of a sheet of paper then write “my marriage” inside the circle. The circle represents you and your mate. Take a couple of minutes and write down around your circle the circumstances, situations, people, or anything else that create roadblocks to communication in your marriage. As you place these deterrents on the chart, put them in proximity to how much impact they have on your relationship. The items with greater impact will be placed closer to your marriage circle (if very severe negative impact you may even put it within the circle), and the items with lesser impact will be placed farther from the circle. After you both have completed your chart, share it with your spouse
and compare charts. Make a list of the similarities you found between your chart and your spouse’s chart.

It is very important to isolate these interferences and develop methods to combat their negative impact on your communication. In the case of a meddling father-in-law, a solution might be to set up boundaries and limit the family’s exposure to him. Another solution might be to have the son sit down with his father and set him straight. What action steps can you take to minimize the impact these interferences will have on your communication in the future?

In the next post we will continue to address communication and focus on what culture has done to inhibit male communication as well as how transparency can cause communication to blossom.

Be blessed until next time!

©2018 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

 

 

 

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Filed under Behavior, Communication, Expectations, Respect, Selfishness, Uncategorized

I Don’t Make the Rules

Shrugging

With regard to the culturally distasteful notion of submission, it is important, certainly as a Christian, to understand that submission works when both partners are submissive to God first.  There is an accountability that exists between us and God and between husband and wife.  The husband understands that his submission to God means that he will always have the best interest of his wife at heart and display God to wife and family. This selfless behavior makes submission to him an easy commitment for his partner to fulfill.

Parenting has another form of accountability attached to that role.  Parents are accountable to God for the gift of their children. We are called to raise our children in a way that is pleasing to him.  That, by definition, gives us authority over our children. But again we’re called to lead our children by demonstrating the character of God and his love. Remember, children model the dynamics that occur in the home. Do your children obey and submit to your authority?  Do we as parents help our children to achieve the expectations that God has for them?  This may be something for you to consider.  The Scriptures have laid out acceptable and unacceptable behaviors tied to God’s expectations of us and of our children.

Our accountability to God is to raise our children in the ways that he prescribes. As discussed in chapter one, God has the best interest of the husband and wife at heart, and he likewise wants the best for our (his) children.  Children reap the rewards when the parents demonstrate the same care for their well-being as God does for the parents. So too the children are called to obedience and submission.  Children are accountable to their parents (and God) for their actions, and parents are called to be accountable to God in the way they raise their children.

Make your children aware that your parenting decisions—as well as decisions in general—are in collaboration with and submission to God’s authority.  This sets a great example to the kids and also sends a clear message that the decisions you make will not be so easily manipulated since, just as they are accountable to you, you have higher accountability as well.  This is what facilitates the scriptural command for children to obey their parents.

©2018 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Accountability, Expectations, Parenting, Role Modeling, Roles, Submission

You Can Work With What You Know

couples 1

Expectations are an area in our marriage that can really trip us up.  One of the big problems in relationship, whether new or old is the problem of unexpressed expectation.  We all have them, but unless you both are aware of them it makes fulfilling each others needs considerable more difficult.  We simply take it for granted that the other person know our wants and needs.  Unless you are both mind readers there will never be a meeting of the minds.  Another problem occurs when our expectations for our marriage are unrealistic, then a series of potholes will litter the matrimonial highway. We can easily lose sight of God’s design for our marriage; we can forget all the qualities that first attracted us to our spouse; and we can forget just how special our mate really is. We can get so caught up in our differences (often the things we found endearing at first) and forget that our spouse’s strengths offset our own weaknesses and vice versa.  We begin to focus on how our partner can be fixed rather than understanding how God created them different from us. We focus on our feelings rather than the practice of love.

When it was all said and done, the apostle Paul had one expectation: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).  Paul’s expectation was that Christ always be honored.

Now let’s do an experiment.  Go someplace where you can be alone, someplace comfortable and with no intrusions. You may both complete the following exercise in a personal journal or notebook.  Each of you sit for about fifteen minutes, silently.  Once your mind is clear of outside interference make a list of six expectations you have for your mate,  the future of your relationship or anything else that you’d like to see your spouse do more often.   Really give this some thought.  Consider how these expectations would make you feel if they were tended to.  Now that you have completed your list, go back and reread it.  Do you find more negatives in your expectations list than positives?  Has your lack in expressing them to your spouse led to certain expectations being unfulfilled?  I then suggest that you both sit together and share your lists with one another, discussing together the unrealistic ones and coming up with a plan to put forth the effort to address those that are attainable.  Working toward meeting the needs of our partner displays a great sense of selflessness, the foundation of a healthy marriage.  Remember, we can work with what we know.  Be blessed!

©2018 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Assertiveness, Behavior, Beliefs, Communication, Expectations, selflessness, Unity

What Do You Want to Do?

bike riding

Finding things to do together as a couple shows your spouse that you are interested and find value in the time spent together. This is a wonderful way to increase intimacy in your marriage. If you do not currently participate in activities together, begin to find like interests you can share. In some cases that may be a tall task. Perhaps you have difficulty finding things that interest you both. I had absolutely no desire to see the Meryl Streep film The Devil Wears Prada when it debuted. Mind you, I love movies, but this was not my idea of an evening’s entertainment. I chose not to operate in my feelings but to step out of the box and do something for my wife. When she asked, I bit the bullet. “Why sure, honey. I’d love to go see it.” We went out for dinner then off to the movie. I simply changed my mindset. I wasn’t going to see The Devil Wears Prada, I was taking the opportunity to spend some time with my wife. It all worked out just fine, and the movie wasn’t bad either.

Practicing selfless love is a great way to grow your relationship. Although the activities may be fun, it’s more important that you begin to view them as time you get to spend with your spouse. This will make the activities that are not so interesting to you personally just as enjoyable. You can alternate activities, taking turns picking what you will do. Husband, you agree to take in the new chick flick or some such activity, then next week the wife agrees to go to the NASCAR races. Remember, the activity is not as important as the time spent together.

Here’s a little exercise that might just stimulate some activities that you and your spouse can partake in together. Prepare a list of twenty-five activities you really enjoy (or might enjoy) and would love doing with your spouse. Again, these activities may be ones that you have never attempted but think they might be interesting, or simply things you already like to do. Remember, the goal is to use this list when we are having difficulty finding  things to do together. Once you have both completed your list of activities, make a photocopy of it. Exchange lists with each other. Your mate will love it when you plan a day doing something they really enjoy, and this will show them how much you care for them. This will also eliminate the statement “I don’t know…what do you want to do?” when you begin to plan date nights. Now go out and have some fun!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Activities, Behavior, Communication, self

Success is Our Goal!

Success

When couples work together to reach mutual goals, the level of intimacy increases in the marriage. A great deal of satisfaction comes from accomplishments made as a team.  Look at the excitement and energy on display when a baseball team wins an important game.  They train, struggle, and sweat together to take that championship. Listen to the guys sharing about their last backpacking trip and the satisfaction expressed that in spite of fatigue, terrain, or weather conditions, they made it to their destination together.  Observe the young couple who scrimped and saved prior to getting married just so they would have enough money to make a down payment on their first home. The joy of accomplishment is beyond words!

Working together toward a common goal creates a sense of belonging, teamwork, and accomplishment, there is no doubt.  It is important to benchmark goals and have smaller intermediary goals on the way to the grand finale of goals.  By doing so, momentum will remain high because we can see our efforts beginning to pay off, thus increasing the likelihood of attaining our end goal.

 Setting Goals Together  An acronym that helps to summarize the basics of goal setting is as follows. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T.  You may have heard this acronym or something close to it in one form or another, but it bears repeating.

 Goals should be Specific. The problem with the goals many people set is that they are so vague it is difficult to determine the direction the goal setting is headed.  Leave for your destination without a map and only a vague idea of where you’re headed and you will end up traveling all over town and wasting a great deal of gasoline and time in the process—to say nothing of the frustration and anger that will result. A map shows us exactly where we are headed, and we’ll know when we arrive.

 Goals should be Measurable. It is helpful to have a way to benchmark our productivity as we move toward a goal.  In this way we can assess from time to time and see if we are indeed moving along the right road. When a goal is measurable we are also encouraged by the small plateaus we hit in striving toward the desired end.

 Goals should be Achievable. We should not set financial goals so high that we will never meet the mark. A family with a combined annual income of $50,000 should probably not decide to start saving $2000 a month toward a down payment for a new home.  They will become disheartened by the second month and give up the goal entirely.

 Goals should be Realistic. It’s great to be a visionary, but if you set your goals too lofty you will never be able to attain them. You will simply become frustrated and give up.

 Goals should be Time Sensitive. We should make sure that we designate a certain amount of time for accomplishing our goals. This too will help us to benchmark our progress. Short-term goals are usually ones that you can successfully accomplish in six months to one year’s time. Longer-term goals will usually range from one to five years.

Again, your goals can be personal ones, something you would like to accomplish. Maybe the completion of that college degree you have been working on, or joining the gym to take off those last ten pounds. They can be goals focused on you and your mate—perhaps saving some money so that you can attend an upcoming marriage retreat your church is sponsoring. Goals can also be family oriented, such as putting together a big family vacation.  When we are working toward the same goals as a couple or family, we get to share in the benefits of accomplishment.

I pray blessing on you and that God give you the strength to do what’s right.

©2017 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Commitment, Expectations, Finances, Goals, Obedience

Take Off the Blindfold: Is Your Selfishness Destroying Your Relationship?

selfishness 6

When you think about the word selfish, certain images (or people) probably come to mind.  I want to take a few moments and address selfishness in terms that you may not have considered before.  Where does it come from? How early does it begin to take root? Can something be done about it?  Let’s draw out the aspects of selfishness and develop a different perspective of its meaning through a brief scenario.

Imagine a child about two years old, with no discernible expression on his face. He sits quietly in a corner watching the hustle and bustle of the room around him. Father comes into the room, looks at his watch, then sits on the couch. The child rises and moves toward his father, arms outstretched. The father suddenly remembers the task that needed to be completed before he rushed off to work. Up he bounces, moving quickly past the child.

The child’s expression is distinctly noticeable now. His big brown eyes look sad as he lowers his arms and whimpers quietly. His eyes light up as he notices Mother, who has stepped out of the bedroom. His arms extend once more, craving a hug, some sort of affection from his mother. She stands by the couch and continues chatting on her cell phone. She proceeds down the hall into the darkness, as if not even noticing the child. The child’s arms and head both lower. He drops to the floor and sits quietly. Can you imagine what the child is feeling at this moment?

Dad is very involved in his work, keeping food on the table and a roof over the family’s head. Mother wants to do better, but Dad is so obsessed with his work that she has sole responsibility of the household, to say nothing of the fact that she too holds down a job. It’s tough to make ends meet these days. In fact, Dad is so caught up in his work, spending time with his guy friends, and keeping up with the latest sports scores that Mom feels neglected. His lack of attention makes her feel unattractive.

As time goes by, Mother becomes more irritable and less interested in making the marriage a go. She certainly can’t do it by herself. She can feel everything slowly slipping away. Some of  her downtime leads her to partake in a drink or two. This is a convenient way of numbing the pain. The frequency of her drinking increases as her disillusionment increases. Everyone is so caught up in themselves that there doesn’t seem to be much time for that poor child. All he wants is some love and affection, the security of someone who cares.

The family behaviors continue through the years. The little boy continues to reach out to his parents for that love in a variety of ways. Nothing seems to change for the long term so the child, now ten, comes to accept his fate. He begins to close off. He stops expecting. Many of you can feel for that child and understand his plight. Some of you may be able to relate on a very personal level.

How do you think this process develops over the years?  What do you think this dynamic looks like in adult relationships, in marriage? Do you think that it is important to adjust your perceptions of the adult world as you transcend your childhood upbringing?

A failure to update your script results in a child’s need for self-sufficiency in order to overcome the pain of not receiving what you were entitled to as you were growing up (love, affection, nurturing and affirmation, hugs, acceptance etc.) turning into adult selfishness. When I say adult selfishness, I  mean that you still view the world through your childlike perceptions.

In a marriage it is essential to develop an attitude of selflessness. Let’s take a few moments and think about the state of your current relationship. It’s easy to say that when we are steeped in turmoil and conflict that the entire problem is the other person’s fault. Perhaps your spouse has done some things that have hurt you very deeply. You are two different people and you are bound to do things that ruffle one another’s feathers. Fact is, it takes two people to make or break a marriage. It’s an issue of dynamics. I want you to meditate before the Lord and be honest. Ask Him to show you the areas in which you have helped to create or facilitate the current dynamics of your marriage. This will be a demonstration of taking responsibility for your part in moving the relationship in the direction it is currently. Taking responsibility is a major step toward change and healing, it is also a step toward growing beyond our own selfishness.

You’ll find more insights, exercises and techniques to work through selfishness in Marriage By Design which can be ordered through Amazon.com and B&N.com, more information available on this site.

You will be blessed as you grow your marriage.

©2017 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. 

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Family of Origin, Misconceptions, Selfishness, selflessness

Appreciation is Much Appreciated

appreciation

Supporting your spouse is an important element in creating a satisfying marriage.  Whether it’s a matter of simply validating your spouse by listening to what they have to say or financially backing your wife’s new book—and everything in between—your spouse needs to know that you are an active partner.  You do not have to agree with everything your spouse says, but the very least you can do is hear them out and weigh the pros and cons of their proposal.  Many things will require seeking the Lord for direction, so take that time and be encouraging to your partner. Remember, it’s not all about you; your spouse has a thought process that is just as valid as yours.

In the same vein, it’s important to acknowledge the efforts of your spouse.  All too often we take our wives or husbands for granted.  Does that sound familiar? Perhaps you heard it from your spouse this week. Don’t do that!  The world offers plenty of opportunity to tear down your mate. Acknowledging good behavior is one of the most effective ways to elicit change in a person. Think about it. With children, how do you get them to do the things you want them to do? Whether it’s doing their chores, being polite, or sharing their toys, we encourage them when they do what is right.  “Thank you Johnny; Mommy really appreciates it when you take out the trash.” “Susie, that was very nice of you to let your sister play with your doll.”

Positive reinforcement makes such a big difference.  And it’s not just the children; we all appreciate it when our efforts are recognized.  The best way to encourage long-term change in our loved ones is to acknowledge them and make them aware that we appreciate what they are doing.  Leave it alone and don’t say anything and you have ensured that the positive behaviors will stop in short order.

Take a moment and assess yourself.  How well do you do in the acknowledgement department?  Do you offer is freely or do you have the tendency to take your spouse for granted?  Investing in your mate is a great way to increase intimacy in your relationship.  In what ways can you make improvements in this particular area of your marriage?.

Be Blessed!

©2017 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Communication, Love, Respect, Thankfulness

Going Through the Fire…Together

Overcoming

There are many ways to build our foundation of intimacy as a married couple.  One that some don’t consider is the refining process that occurs when couples go through trials, crisis and life changing events together.  Going through trials together certainly builds intimacy in a relationship. The interesting thing about trials is that they often force greater reliance on God, thereby offering an opportunity to grow in our faith.

We do not want to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.2 Corinthians 1:8-9

Sometimes the challenges that couples go through are incredibly difficult.  When two people are on the same page and working toward the same ends, the pain is considerably reduced by having someone to share them with. It is essential that couples be willing to share difficult circumstances with one another.  Men are notorious for stuffing situations so as not to trouble their wives.  Let your wife see inside you and understand your troubles; let her encourage and support you. If something is bothering you, odds are that you will make it known whether you say anything or not.  When you become quiet or grumpy, your spouse will suspect that something is wrong.  This leaves the spouse to feel responsible for your behavior when it may have nothing at all to do with them.  If there are only two people in a room and one of them is obviously upset, it stands to reason that the remaining person must have done something to offend the other.  This is often how people think, whether it’s accurate or not.

It is often very helpful to receive input from a source that can give you a perspective that perhaps you can’t see, being so close to the problem.  Utilize the gifts that God has given your mate.  Minimally, there is a cleansing process that occurs when you lay out the difficulties that you are struggling with rather than trying helplessly to filter through the emotional frustrations of carrying destructive baggage on your own.  Whether the crisis is personal in nature or one that plaques you as a couple, remember, at some level you will both be affected in one form or another so work it together.

When couples have the opportunity to work problems through to resolution together, they feel a great sense of accomplishment and it strengthens the marriage and increases intimacy.  You guys signed on as a team, play like one!

I pray blessing on you and that God give you the strength to do what’s right.

©2017 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Assertiveness, Behavior, Commitment, Communication, Emotions, Transparency, Trials, Unity

Control Yourself!

 

control-yourself

Have you come to place in your relationship where some assessment may be necessary?  Fact of the matter, you should be periodically assessing your marriage.  It’s much easier to work through the issues in a relationship while they are small and manageable.  For some reason, many people wait until the violations are so deep that coming back from the damage is a very difficult proposition.  Mind you, I did not say impossible!  Has the reality of your marriage left your marital expectations in the dust?

If this is the state in which you find yourself, you may be asking, “How do I not only achieve some relief but hopefully move this ailing union forward?”   I want to encourage you, it may be time to stop addressing the seemingly endless negatives about the other person.  Our tendency is to gather as much evidence as possible to support the reason you feel the way you do about your spouse.  This only feeds the negative attitude.  At this point it is important to find and focus on the positives.

You need to periodically identify what behaviors were occurring when things were better; in other words, what was I doing differently (or, doing right)? Notice that your spouse is not being addressed here.  There is good reason for that. One of the keys to a healthy relationship is that both parties involved take responsibility for their own attitudes and behavior.  I am more interested in you than your spouse for the simple reason that you do not have the ability to change them, only yourself.  If, however, you begin to take responsibility for your own behavior and focus on positive improvements, it certainly can affect the dynamics of the relationship.

Ponder the following scripture. As you do, listen to what God has to tell you. This may take more than a few minutes because sometimes our own hurts prevent us from wanting to hear what God has to say in a given situation.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.              -Jeremiah 33:3

What does this scripture speak to you?  Go someplace where you can be alone, someplace comfortable and with no intrusions.  Now make a list of six expectations you have for the future of your marriage.  Once your list is completed, go back and reread it.  Do you find more negatives in your expectations list than positives?  What current behavior(s) might you need to change to move the marriage back to a time when it was more fulfilling? Ask yourself what positive behaviors you did in the past that you are no longer doing.  Once you’ve identified theses behaviors you’ve complete half the job.  Yes, the other half is implementing them without expecting anything from your mate at this point.  “Well, why should I do it if they won’t even acknowledge it!”  Why?  Because it is the right thing to do.  Now that IS YOUR responsibility!

I pray blessing on you and that God give you the strength to do what’s right.

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

 

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Character, Communication, Emotions, Expectations, selflessness