Remember, for just a moment, the emotions and thoughts you experience when you have a disagreement with your spouse. It can be incredibly frustrating when we believe we are not being heard or that how we feel is not being acknowledged. Human nature often prompts the urge to throw up our hands in frustration and walk away as a response, even though such actions do nothing to resolve the tension that has been created. If the tension is not resolved, it has the potential to build up and, over time, lead to bitterness and resentment. Bitterness and resentment can destroy a marriage.
Consider making an agreement with your spouse. Try using the following, or write your own. Read through it often; preferably together.
I, ______ do agree to make an effort to see my spouse’s side of the disagreements that arise. I will make an effort to acknowledge how my spouse may be feeling before attempts to force being heard. I recognize that we each have different beliefs and opinions that influence our emotions and responses, and will make an effort to increase my awareness of these influences so I may better manage my response by considering how my spouse may see or experience the situation. I will choose to be loving in my actions, though my emotions may prompt the urge to engage in disrespectful, selfish actions. While working to break the unhelpful communication habits we have jointly developed, I agree to use our safe word, ________ as a “white flag” reminder of this agreement. I love my spouse, and I am choosing to act accordingly.
What would your agreement say?
Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, author of Love Isn’t Selfish, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at www.aftertherainn.com