When was the last time you had a fight, slept in separate bedrooms and had fantasies/fears that your marriage was over?
Thankfully, we’ve all been there and couples must learn how to pull out of these kinds of tailspins. Here is the counsel I gave a couple in similar situation.
First, know when to leave well enough alone.
One of the worst things you can do when the situation is volatile is stoke the fire. There is a time when you need to leave well enough alone. When tired we don’t do our best thinking. When our emotions are frayed, we don’t reason clearly or well. Let the situation settle.Second, step back to examine the problems.
We don’t reason well when we are too close to the problem. We cannot gain perspective when our emotions are high. We must not only leave well enough alone, but must step back to reflect on the problem.Third, quickly own your part in the problems.
Having reflected on the problem, focus on your part in the problems. There is little value in focusing on what your mate has done wrong. Focus instead on your side of the street.Scripture makes it clear we are not to judge or blame others. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things” (Romans 2:1).
Fourth, listen to your mate for where/how they are wounded.
Every fight is an opportunity to bring healing to your mate. While of course they may not receive that healing immediately, at some point they will be receptive to you owning your mistakes and offering to listen to them. They will, if done correctly, receive your apology and offer for connection.Finally, agree to grow from the problems going forward.
Every emotional melt down is an opportunity to step back, analyze what is happening, own your part and agree to do better next time. Hope is the great elixir to a broken and wounded heart. Offer it to your mate.They couple came to the next day’s session wounded but ready to learn and grow. In a short time they had talked out what had happened, why it happened and what they would do better next time. The same can happen for you.
[written by Dr. David B. Hawkins]