"I can't believe that you are saying that, Steven. You must be out of your mind!", you must be thinking out loud.
No, I have not gone out of my mind. In fact, I believe that what I am about to share will help many couples to continue to love each other more.
Let me say this again, to keep a marriage well, you must not believe everything your spouse says to you.
Well, with 31 years of experience behind us, Michelle and I know that this is true. For the many times that we failed to practice this simple idea, we got into trouble. But wisdom took over finally and won.
Let me explain by first asking you this question:
"Have you ever gotten hurt by your spouse because of what he/she said to or about you?"
I bet that many of you have been hurt in that way before.
While I have always advocated spouses to speak well of one another, Michelle and I still fail sometimes to do that. Rarely now, but we still do so occasionally, and usually when one or both of us are under stress or when we are fatigued. Under those circumstances when our emotional energy went low, we became irritable, as well as irritating, and often times, we blurted out words without giving them proper thoughts.
Such words, which came out of our mouth faster than they went through our brain, were usually not true. But those words had the potential to cause tremendous hurt.
"You are so unreasonable."
"Why are you so lazy?"
"I am tired of having to put up with you."
"Can't you do better than that?"
"I hate what you have done!"
Do they sound familiar?
Let me share how Michelle and I overcame such situations:
Over the years, we have built up a trusting relationship such that if any of those statements spoke truth of my shortcomings, Michelle will give me the confidence to admit it, ask for her forgiveness, and ask our God to help me to change for the better. I do the same for her.
However, if Michelle said any of those statements merely out of her frustrations or moments of anger, then I would tell myself not to react with anger or hurt. Vice versa.
It took us many years to work this out - that is, our response must be to always believe that what was said wrongly was unintentional. We took efforts to learn not to take offense or put up a defense. In short, under those circumstances, we choose not to believe what was said and we resist the temptation to react negatively.
More often than not, couples react negatively and prefer to argue or make their defense to such accusations. But they forget that at that moment, their spouse was already
stressed up or angry, and so would be unlikely to accept the reasoning. Then, the unhappy reaction elicits another negative
reaction and a war erupts!
So, while we need to be
aware of our real shortcomings, it is more important that we learn to
discern our spouse's misplaced words.
It works wonders for us and it will work for any couple in love.
This calls for a determined effort on our part to believe that if our spouse did something good to us, it was intentional and if he/she did something bad,it was truly unintentional.
Giving the benefit of doubt to our lover brings a fragrance of love that will make us more understanding, less demanding and prevents conflicts.
So, I say, don't believe everything that your spouse says to you in his/her moments of stress or anger! Instead, believe that it was never his/her intention to hurt you. This will keep your love for one another and your marriage alive and well.
Great lovers give each other the benefit of doubt and cover each others' wrongdoings, especially the hurtful words that come out in moments of anger, stress and frustration.
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