LIFE IN BALANCE-Staying Married 2Adeshola Ezeokoli
In my last post I dealt with issues regarding what love really is, as well as not planning for a divorce. Moving on in part two, I will be talking about conflict resolution and honesty.
Resolve conflicts, don’t just bury them:
There are times in marriage when it is just easier to sweep the mess under the carpet than to dredge it up and deal with it. If you are in conflict with your spouse you have to resolve it. If you have to stay up all night to come to a resolution of serious matters, do it. Unresolved conflicts lead to the building up of walls between you and your spouse. Unresolved conflicts cause resentment to build up in one or both parties. Strife leads to illness and heart break. Do not bury your negative emotions about an issue, talk about it. A practical thing to do is to set out a time to talk things over. It is probably better to do this where and when you will not be disturbed by children. Talk about what is on your mind in reasonable soft tones. This is not the time to come across as accusatory. This is not a time to point fingers. It is a time to say: “This is a problem, let us talk about it”. Air your viewpoint in a non-violent, non-threatening and non-judgemental
sort of way. There should be apologies as each partner owns their own part in said conflict. If things escalate to raised voices, or the pain is too much to deal with, drop the issue for the time being; with a plan to revisit it later. At least it will be on the table. If you have to do this, do not continue to treat your spouse like the enemy. Focus on the things that are working out, in the meantime. Make sure that you return later to deal with whatever issue it was.
To reduce major conflict, couples can actually have time set apart (eg every month) to discuss knotty issues in the marriage. Make up your minds to have a strife free, stress free marriage. You will reap dividends in good health and peace of mind and heart, as well as answered prayers.
Honesty is the best policy:
Picture this scenario. You are about to go out on date. You guys haven’t been on date night in a while, sex has been ho-hum. You know that tonight, after wining and dining her, you will be in seventh heaven. She is wearing a dress that does not look too flattering but you are almost late for your dinner reservation. She asks you the dreaded question: “Does this dress make me look fat?”
Or this: Your husband rarely ever cooks. One day you come home tired and he is slaving away at the stove, the oven, and the deep fryer all at the same time. You wait in anticipation of the meal. You don’t even stop to snack on the cookies, even though you are so hungry. At last the food is set before you and you dig in. You take a big bite and it feels like flames just lit up your mouth. Too much pepper! He comes in with a glass of water, a big smile on his face and says:”How do you like the food?”
What do you do? Should you tell the truth? As far as I am concerned, there is no option but to be honest, but lets examine this critically.
You should never lie to your spouse. Apart from the fact that if they found out, you would look like a total jerk, it calls into question your very integrity. It makes the other person wonder, what else have you been lying to me about. It undermines trust, and trust is one of the building blocks on which a good marriage is built. If you develop a culture of “little white lies”, you will have to tell more lies to cover up your previous lies. A good liar has to have a very good memory. If you get used to lying over little things, you will not tell the truth when confronted with something major. “I don’t know who left the faucet on and flooded the house….”
Now, in the first case scenario, if you lied, your wife may wear the horrible dress to all your outings and then you won’t be able to do anything about it. In the second case scenario, if you didn’t tell your husband that the food was a little too spicy, you may be eating fiery food for life! Even so-called harmless lies can snowball out of control.
On the flip side, if you have been dishonest to your spouse your whole life, don’t read this and go back and tell your spouse every dishonest thing you have ever done. Your marriage may not be able to handle it. You need wisdom, timing, and in some cases holding your tongue is better than saying anything if you are not directly asked. Also if you ask your spouse a question, don’t get angry when they tell you the truth or they, like a terrapin, might hide in their shell and never say anything again.
Being truthful does not mean being mean. If she says, does this dress make me look fat and you think it does, tell her, it’s the dress, it doesn’t do you justice, why don’t you wear the other one? If he asks how do you like the food, don’t say, it’s horrible, do you want to kill me, you fool. Say something like, it is spicy, but thank you so much for cooking it, I will have some yogurt/water/ice cubes( 🙂 ) with that. You do not have to be brutally honest. Truth and being nasty don’t have to go together.
Here concludes part 2 of Staying Married.
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Remain blessed and stay married.