#3 Learn what you are really talking about. Communication is key.
*Warning: Personal Story* I don’t know why I gave you a warning; other then I thought it would be funny! Josh and I are imperfect people, and this was no more apparent then when we were engaged and during our first year of marriage. I will speak from my perspective, because that is the only perspective I have. When Josh and I got engaged, God was really doing a number on my heart and life, He was replacing my views with His, and a heart transplant is never easy. I came into our marriage with a lot of hurts, hang-ups and silly expectations. Josh was probably expecting me to be more like him, read that emotionally stable! The first year of our marriage was filled with tears… what we realized was that when I was reacting out of proportion to the situation at hand, I was really reacting to a lie I believed about myself, or a past hurt that had not healed.
Pause here to think through the last time you withdrew or blew up and the situation did not warrant the response. Why? What were you responding to? What hurt is plaguing how you feel about yourself, or the people around you? Now ask God to work in your life to heal that hurt, and know that you are not alone, God is walking, no, carrying you through it.
We started to realize that the faster we could decode our anger or hurt the faster we could move on and really know each other.
Typical couple argument: (This is totally made up)
Female: (exasperated tone) Why are your socks on the floor next to the hamper, instead of in the hamper?
Male: (somewhat distracted by the tv) Isn’t that close enough for you. (note the sarcasm)
Female: Well, it is obvious by the way you do what I ask you to, that you only see me as a maid…
Male: (now fully engaged) A maid, huh? Well, I wouldn’t pay you to keep up with the house like you do. Would you just get off my back?
Female: (starting to get indignant) If I stopped doing what I do then the house would look like a frat house.
Male: Now those were the days, no ball and chain…
Decoding the Female: She probably is frustrated by the little things that her spouse does or doesn’t do, but what is going on below the surface? Control maybe her thing… She maybe reacting to a situation in her past that she had no control over, also, she is probably questioning her worth, calling herself a maid.
Decoding the Male: First, he probably doesn’t want to be bothered while watching tv, but he is probably hurt because she is not approaching him in a respectful way, as well as nagging him, which will of course remind him of being scolded by his mother. He already has one, and does not want another.
One of the hardest things for me to overcome was the tape (cd/mp3) that played over and over in my head that said, “You are not worth anyone’s love, outside of what you can earn. You are not enough to love on your own merit, and you are too much to deal with because of your baggage. You are not lovable and will never be able to give or receive love.” Most of my adolescence and into adulthood, I was looking for myself, but believed that to find myself it needed to come out of someone else’s love and expectations for me. You can see how this would taint any interaction that I had with Josh, at the drop of a hat I believed that if he was frustrated with me, it was because I was too much and he did not love me. Thankfully, by the grace of God, that tape has slowly changed, I still fall back into some of those beliefs every now and then, but that is not my normal. My new tape reads more like this: I am a beloved daughter of God, and because of His infinite love was adopted into His family. My worth lies not in what I am or what I do, but who He is in me. I am whole and complete in Him. I am whole in Him…
My soapbox and prayer is that you can find yourself fully in Him. That the lies you believe can be replaced by His truth. Like I said yesterday, you will be paralyzed until you find healing.
Side note: In order to communicate well, you need to figure out how you both argue and then work with it. Josh normally likes room and space to think before we have a discussion, where I just want to talk it out. So sometimes we talk it out right there, and sometimes we wait. I have also learned that there are better times to bring up issues then others. It is extremely hard for me, but I try to wait until an appropriate time to bring up something that is bothering me.