Today we have a guest!
Rosilind is an American girl married to a Bosnian guy who lives in a small village just outside of Zagreb. They have two crazy boys who are as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn’t writing, she is dreaming up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. She writes at A Little R & R.
An article on Facebook grabbed my attention recently. The writer was addressing the growing rate of divorce among a segment of the church few anticipated would ever have such struggles – the couples who had chosen courtship over dating.
You see, I remember when the whole debate of dating vs. courtship began. I was a teenager then. Fast-forward fifteen years and we have discovered that no matter what term you choose to use: dating, courtship, “going out”… you will face conflict. Conflict is simply unavoidable in any relationship.
Conflict in and of itself is not a bad thing. Quite the opposite, it can prove to very useful in helping to shine light on a new perspective of a discussion, reveal hidden flaws in our character, or drive us to a healthy form of compromise.
What makes conflict useful is our attitude and approach when we are faced with it.
In her book Messy Beautiful Love*, Darlene Schacht shares a story from her marriage that I instantly related to. She shares how her husband, while getting a bowl of cereal, was frustrated by the dirty dishes in the clean dishwasher. Bad grew to worse as one little thing after another drove him to further annoyance. She is then presented with a choice. Will she take the conflict to a new level of anger, or diffuse it with grace?
I will be the first to admit (and my husband would quickly agree) that I am only just learning how to approach conflict from a healthy perspective.
I am by nature a pleaser; therefore, conflict is something that frightens me to death. I will bend over backwards to a dangerous breaking point before I will even consider confrontation. Even then, I will gladly take an exit, if I can find one.
Marriage has helped me discover how to approach confrontation and conflict from a healthy standpoint, and to not allow it to fester inside of me.
It all comes down to how we communicate.
5 Ways To Take Your Marriage from Good to Great
1. Control our Thought Processes
Healthy communication first begins with healthy thoughts. Yes, we communicate to our own hearts first – and that communication becomes a filter through which we communicate with our spouses. If we are to have healthy communication, we must communicate with our hearts and minds in a healthy way.
2. Control our Emotions
If our emotions are not held in check, communication will break down every time. Men do not experience emotions as we do; and many men are frightened by female emotional outbursts. Frankly, many of our outbursts spring from a desire to manipulate in order to gain an upper hand in the conflict. But if we wish to have a great marriage, we must make the conscious choice to fight fair, and a fair fight must be free from manipulative and out-of-control emotions.
3. Keep Infection Out
In chapter 8, Darlene shares an illustration from her pug Bailey. Overlooking a fold near her left ear, she had failed to keep it clean and an infection set it. Our relationships can easily become infected with little things that first annoy us. If left unchecked, the annoyance rubs a sore spot in our hearts, which then becomes an angry wound filled with a dangerous infection that spreads until the entire relationship is sick.
To keep our hearts free from infection, we must do as Darlene does with her sweet puppy – we must do regular heart checks. We must allow the Word of God to cleanse us daily, allowing His truth to shine on those areas where dirt and grime have crept in
4. Forgive Every Time
Oh, dear sister – we must forgive. Unforgiveness is the result of infection that has been allowed to run rampant in our hearts. It becomes a cancer that eats away at our souls until we are riddled with pain and disease. The only cure for unforgiveness is humility that recognizes the depth to which we have been forgiven by Almighty God.
Once we realize just how much He has extended the loving hand of forgiveness to us, we will be able to extend that same forgiveness to our spouses and bring our damaged relationship to a place of health and vibrancy.
5. Extend Grace
Have you ever stopped to consider how much grace was needed to bring you to where you are today? When you came to Christ, what was your life like? If you are like me, you needed multiple wells of grace to empty the gunk from your life, cleanse it and then fill it with the love and joy of Jesus.
Since we have been given this grace in such abundance, how can we afford not to extend a small portion to our husbands who work so hard to care and provide for the home? Sure, they aren’t perfect. Neither are we. That is what grace is there for, to provide a bridge from our place of condemnation to a haven of forgiveness and love – even when we don’t deserve it.
This type of communication isn’t easy. It requires sacrifice. Having been married less than a decade, I am only just now learning this.
Reading these two chapters of Messy Beautiful Love *opened my eyes to the myriad of mistakes I have made in such a short time, yet having put these 5 steps to the test in my own marriage has made an enormous difference in the tone and atmosphere of my home.
Blessings from Croatia,
Rosilind, www.rosilindjukic.com | www.missionalcall.com
Thank you Rosilind for being with us here today!
Join the Discussion
1.) Is your marriage good or great?
2.) Which of the 5 ways is the easiest for you?
3.) Which of the 5 ways is most difficult for you?
This post was a part of the
Messy Beautiful Love*Book Club!