Today is my anniversary. On August 9, 2002 I said I do to my best friend Jay. It was a beautiful wedding, outdoor, with friends, family, dancing it was great. But I don’t think I realized that day what being married really meant.
That first year of marriage was rough. Dishonoring each other with our words and being disrespectful. Then we started setting up some better behavior standards. Still we could have huge blowouts. Five years after we got married we started getting some Biblical Marriage Training and it made a world of difference.
We got better, but better isn’t enough.
This week I got to have a conversation with an Associate Pastor whose main job is counseling pre-marriage couples. He actually gets them fighting and helps them deal with conflict resolution and communication. I thought this was very very interesting. He also discussed the concept of constant evaluation. This conversation was at 3:20pm… little did I know I would be in conflict just less than 5 hours later.
Conflict can start so innocently. In my marriage it usually is from lack of communication, disrespecting, and or carelessness. Although I would like to say we never fight, we never dishonor each other, we never misinterpret what the other is saying, we never hurt each other… that would be a lie. And to be honest the more time we spend with each other the more opportunities we have for these things.
In many cases I am the culprit of the conflict. In this case I was careless with planning and prioritized other things over an important thing my husband wanted to do. I didn’t really LISTEN, I mismanaged things, and then once the opportunity was lost for him, I argued and didn’t listen again to his hurt.
See in conflict and during this time it didn’t matter what or why this thing happened it only mattered that he was trying to communicate to me that he was hurt, disappointed and frustrated. I made it all about me and how I felt once he was upset and really just didn’t listen at a level couples need to listen at.
Are you listening to your spouse? Are you really hearing them? Are you honoring their desires, wants, needs? Are they hearing you?
It may be time you invest in your marriage. Why not take a class together or by yourself? Go talk to a marriage counselor. Or maybe even do a marriage retreat together.
My 13 Year Marriage Advice
One thing I have learned from my years of marriage counseling is that if you listen and honor your spouse consistently they will do the same.
As for our conflict, well after a cooling and thinking period I realized what I did and how it hurt my husband. We talked about it, he shared his hurt and the reasons why this was important to him. I listened and sincerely apologized that my behavior led to his loss of opportunity. He forgave me and to show he forgave me, he handed over the one “good pillow” we both love to sleep on. Love is selfless. LOL!
“Marriage isn’t easy, but it is worth it.”
God Bless your Marriage,
Mary Starr Carter
the Total Wellness Doc and Mom
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