The home is supposed to be our safe space. A place where we can relax and recoup. A place of peace.
But that’s not always the case.
Sometimes our homes are riddled with conflict, and when things are like that our homes become draining instead of life-giving.
If that’s where you’re at I just want you to know we’ve been there too. Things haven’t always been a bed of roses for me and Trent, and truth be told, they can still get rocky at times. If you’re struggling to keep the peace with your spouse (or with another family member) I just want you to know there IS hope.
I can’t possibly know the intricate details of your situation, but here are three things that have made a HUGE difference in our marriage. I pray you’ll find something useful that you can implement in yours.
1. SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND
This phrase was first popularized by Steven Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but it has its roots in scripture. Proverbs 18:13 says, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.”
When conflict arises our default is to make the other person understand OUR point of view. We want to be heard. But guess what. The other person feels the same way. If we want to diffuse the situation (and make it more likely that our spouse will hear us out) then we need to first hear them out.
2. BE HUMBLE
If your spouse shares a frustration with you don’t immediately try to defend yourself. I know… it’s hard. First, remember that even Jesus humbled himself.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.Philippians 2:6-7
If humility was good enough for Jesus, then it’s doubly good enough for us. Hear your spouse out, and in the midst of it ask God to show you any truth in their words. None of us is perfect and one of the primary relationships God uses to point out our faults is our marriage.
3. ASK FOR FORGIVENESS
Sometimes arguments arise from simple misunderstandings. Sometimes we take out our stress on the people closest to us. And sometimes we sin. If you’ve done something wrong or hurtful then the best thing to do is say you’re sorry (and mean it) and ask for forgiveness.
Side note: One thing that causes undo stress on a marriage is unresolved conflict. Resolution happens when the high emotions come down and when forgiveness is asked for and granted. Sometimes even a hug (or some other form of physical touch) is needed to really seal the deal. If you know there are things that have gone unresolved in your marriage you may want to schedule some time to get it all out.
Ok I know I said I had three things to share with you that have made a huge difference in our marriage, but is it ok if I share one more?
One thing that is so sad to me is to know there are so many Christians that don’t pray. One basic truth about our faith is that when we become believers the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. We literally have the power of God at our disposal at every minute of every day. Like, are you kidding me?!! Talk to Him!
When it comes to your marriage here are two prayers that are incredibly effective:
1. Holy Spirit, convict me of what I’ve done wrong.
2. Holy Spirit, convict them of what they’ve done wrong.
This connects back with the “Be Humble” part. Our pride tells us that we’re right and if people would just listen to us the world would be a better place. But the Holy Spirit’s job is literally to convict people of sin. (John 16:8) And quite frankly he does a really good job… at his job.
As an added bonus, he’s really good at encouraging us when we feel like we can’t do it anymore. If you’re marriage is at an all time low the best thing you can do is pray.
If you’ve found something useful in this blog I’d love to hear about it in the comments, or if you’d rather keep things confidential shoot us an email (email@example.com).
Because there’s a better way,