There is one single word that will stop just about every fight in our marriage.
Marriage can be the best thing on the whole planet. It is a relationship set up by God that allows you to be completely and intimately known and loved. It also allows you to love someone else the same way. That is incredibly powerful.
Marriage is also incredibly vulnerable because it involves risk.
Only when we let someone love us fully are they capable of hurting us fully. But if we want the old, comfy love that has weathered the storms of life and only grown stronger, we must take the risk of being vulnerable and getting hurt.
We will not have deep love and connection if we choose to armor up our heart. And when two people choose to show up in the relationship, there will be conflict. (If there’s not, then there’s a problem. Usually it means that disconnection has made it’s way into the relationship.) Conflict becomes a problem when we aren’t able to work through it. It’s an issue when we give up trying to be honest with how it’s affecting us and stop trying to understand the perspective of our spouse.
It helps to have a word that decreases the upheaval and stops fighting in our marriage.
Women tend to feel things quite deeply. We were created that way and it is beautiful. However, men think differently. They feel differently. Things that may crush our hearts, don’t even phase them. It can be difficult for them to understand our perspectives in those situations AND can be difficult for us to even communicate effectively that we are hurt without emotionally falling to bits.
So how does the conflict situation typically go?
I was proud that I had cooked a beautiful meal for some guests and that I was able to pull off perfectly. It took a lot of time and effort to get it all just like I wanted. I tell my husband about it and he responds, “Well it’s nice you can do all of that for someone else. I wish you would do that for me sometime.”
Here’s an opportunity to either fight or communicate well about the underlying feelings. And here’s the tough part. If my feelings are hurt (which they usually are), I’ll get offended. I’ll think, “How dare he say that after all that I do every single day for him!” I’ll either sulk and get more upset, or I’ll lash out and say, “Well I wish you would fix the leak under the sink that has been there for months!”
Eek! Neither of those are good options.
But there’s another option that is quite powerful. If we aren’t able to put to words why something hurt our feelings, or why our whole world just fell apart, simply say, “Ouch!” AND THEN walk away.
This one powerful word does two things: it communicates, “That hurt me” and it keeps us as the powerful person that we are. Walk away until you can calmly communicate what hurt and why. This keeps our self control intact and prevents mean retaliation. It also effectively sends the message to our spouse that something they said hurt our heart. It gives the space for a deeper conversation in the future. Remember something about this conversation probably bothered them too.
Here are some other simple ways to keep a heart to heart connection with our spouse.
I learned from the blogging bird a powerful phrase to use when I feel a conflict escalate. And it works! It’s a quick reminder that neither of us are the enemy. It calms the temper and re-centers our focus.
For that one powerful phrase, click here.
These two tools will help deflate conflict and increase connection in our marriage.
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