The last few posts I’ve written have dealt with some of the challenges many couples face in marriage. It struck me however, as I perused one of my sorority sister’s blogs (msmiawrites.blogspot.com) that many people get into trouble in marriage because their dating experience is not properly grounded. In fact, this is the reason that my previous relationships didn’t go very well. It’s not that the guys I dated were not nice people, they just had different expectations for the direction of the relationship, and we were not equally yoked spiritually. So, how do you know? Ask questions. Honest questions. Don’t be afraid, or be afraid but ask questions.
These are some of the hardest questions because sometimes we want what we want so badly that we justify away the reality. Whenever my husband and I talk about relationships he always says that he was guided by two principles. 1) You can’t expect someone to act differently than they typically do. A surprise is great, but don’t expect it. 2) You can’t MAKE anyone change. S/he has to change because s/he wants to.
I debated whether I should say this or not, but I’m gonna put it out there and pray that you hear my heart. A recent conversation with my friend Rayya gave me confirmation that yes, I should share this.
The key is to understand as quickly as possible that the person you love has flaws just like everybody else. I’m sorry but his breathe will stink in the morning, she passes gas, and sometimes….wait for it… you’re gonna get annoyed with each other and need a minute apart. I love my husband and son, but there is nothing like a good quality girls’ night! Woo! In turn, my husband needs to just be with the boys sometimes. It’s ok. Also, one more bubble to burst – every argument is not going to end peaceably. There may be things that you argue about over and over and over again in different forms as different things happen in your life. On top of this, you and your spouse may have different argument styles. Jonathon and I have very different argument styles. This is a factor of our upbringing and our personalities. I have always been more of a yeller. If you’re not yelling, you’re not arguing, right? (LOL) Jonathon on the other hand, is more steady and quiet. He wants to talk things out. He takes his time to think carefully about what he says before he says it. He believes strongly that you can forgive, but you won’t forget. For us to argue more effectively, I have had to work on my yelling and my patience. I have to understand that if I yell, Jon is not going to hear what I’m saying because he shuts down. I also have to understand that he need time to process and then respond. Very difficult for me. I always want an answer now. I’m a work in progress for sure.
Learning to argue and resolve arguments is one of the most challenging, yet important things to learn. I encourage you to do the following:
1) DISCUSS what type of arguing you saw in your household. Whether the arguing was between parents, grandparents, a parent and their boy/girlfriend, it was arguing and you witnessed it. HOW did you feel witnessing these arguments? Was there resolution?
IF your parents didn’t argue in front of you, discuss that also.
2) NOW discuss your own argument history. Do you yell, avoid, ignore, insult, etc.? Does your spouse respond to this? What changes need to be made so you argue more effectively?
1) THINK about what type of arguing you saw in your household. Whether the arguing was between parents, grandparents, a parent and their boy/girlfriend, it was arguing and you witnessed it. HOW did you feel witnessing these arguments? Was there resolution?
IF your parents didn’t argue in front of you, think on that also. I encourage you to write these thoughts down in a journal.
2)NOW think about your own argument history. Do you yell, avoid, ignore, insult, etc.? Have previous boy friends or girlfriends responded to this? What changes need to be made so you argue more effectively?