For the second time in two months I had a conversation with a husband bemoaning 50 plus years of being miserably married. As shocked as I was the first time, I was even more shocked this time. This is a successful businessman that I have been running into and talking with at the local coffee shop for the last year or so.
But with years of success in business he felt his marriage was an absolute failure which left him with but two options in his marriage. Violence or leave…
Talk about bad options. From his perspective she is a _______ and __________, who does __________ and ________. We can all fill in the blanks, because honestly there was nothing said that we have not all heard or experienced before. Really, it was the same problems we all feel. However, as he stated, they have never dealt with a single issue, ever. They have never fought, never really expressed any disagreement, they just took their frustrations, hurts, disagreements and pushed them deep down inside. Unfortunately, their years of internalizing have only left them miserable on the inside.
Early on, when hurtful comments were made, they were just swept under the rug – internalized. When personal space was violated, like not leaving room in the freezer for food he likes, nothing was said. When parenting choices differed, well – you get the point. What made this man so miserable is that he and his wife never dealt with any-thing and now they hate every-thing about each other.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. Galatians 2:11
So here are a few things a marriage can do to get good out of conflict and improve your marriage relationship:
- Speak your mind – often.
- Be honest about your feelings.
- Talk frequently.
- Speak up at the point of discomfort, don’t “staple” your feelings to another argument.
- Disagree without being disagreeable.
- Sweeping things under the rug only leads to a lumpy rug.
- Elephants in the room take up a lot of space – between a husband and wife.
How about you, how has your marriage learned to address points of conflict?