5 Things that Make It Impossible to Stay Mad at Your Spouse

BY: - 6 Feb '14 | Marriage

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I’m always amazed at how much I learn about marriage in just every day living. In this article about learning how to grow up in your marriage, I talk about the need to learn how to let go of, or do certain things. One of the things I had to start getting better with was the art of compromising. Even after eight years of marriage, I have to constantly ask myself if I’m being selfish, or if I’m being reasonable. In either case, I’ve learned the importance of owning up to my selfishness or explaining why I’m upset without getting all Real Housewives of (fill in your city here).

The other day was a great example of how much hubby and I have grown in our communication and in our marriage. What could’ve easily lasted hours or even days of being upset or annoyed, was easily addressed and put to rest within a matter of minutes. When I thought about it later on that evening, I was actually delighted to reflect on how far we’ve come and the simple steps we took to get over our spat so we could get back to focusing on what we love about each other.

1. Look Each Other in the Eyes

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It's so easy to get into busy mode and start multi-tasking when things get a little heated in order to avoid a complete blow up (at least, that's what I do while also practicing my deep breathing exercises and counting to ten LOL). But the more you practice looking each other in the eyes while you're talking, the harder it is to stay upset. When you can speak to each other eye to eye, you see love, and in turn want to focus on loving and not fighting.

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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I Had to Die for My Marriage In Order for It to Live

BY: - 7 Feb '14 | Best of BMWK

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I Had to Die for My Marriage In Order for It to Live

As of September 2014, my wife and I will have been married 9 wonderful years. We communicate everything, we are 100% honest at all times, we share our fears and support one another. But, in the beginning we were both selfish, manipulative, disrespectful to one another, and downright ignored how the other person felt. We were headed towards that downward spiral called divorce after only being married a few years. If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone.

One Saturday, in 2008, while running errands I was on the phone with a friend. He mentioned that our church, at the time, was hosting a course on marriage. I knew we needed to attend and immediately called my wife. I explained it to her and she agreed without hesitation. I recall this very pivotal moment for us. It was evidence that we were both here to stay and make this thing called ‘marriage’ work.

My wife and I both had to DIE to our selfish, manipulative, disrespectful, and ignoring ways. We had to submit to one another so that our MARRIAGE could LIVE.

The six week course was taught by Certified Christian Marriage and Family Therapist Scott Davenport. It was one full of laughter and tears for all in attendance. One night Scott said, and I am paraphrasing,“For your marriage to survive it has to die and be born again.”

My wife and I both had to die to our selfish, manipulative, disrespectful, and ignoring ways. We had to submit to one another so that our marriage could live.

If you are like me you are thinking, “Okay, what does that even mean?” Here is how he explained it, just as a Christian lives for Christ and dies to their fleshly desires, your marriage has to experience a death and rebirth as well (Romans 12:1). That meant that my wife and I both had to die to our selfish, manipulative, disrespectful, and ignoring ways. We had to submit to one another so that our marriage could live. (Ephesians 5:21). It was a lot of work. It was also risky — will she try to manipulate me when I’m trying to work on us? What if my needs aren’t met? How do I know she is telling the truth? But it was a risk worth taking for the woman that I loved.

Here are a few things that I learned from Scott and my marriage:

  • Remove your emotions from the situation; this allows for clarity and lessens moments of anger and rage.
  • Hear what your spouse has to say in response to what you said or did, regardless of your original intent; whether you agree with them or not, their feelings were affected in some way.
  • Repeat what they said to show that you were listening.
  • Try to understand them and accept them for who and where they are in life; remember you were raised in two completely different households, have varying experiences, and definitions of what marriage is or should be.
  • Support each other when changes need to occur; growth hurts.
  • Stop demanding things of one another, start asking; demands are draining but asking allows for a conversation.
  • Write down what you expect in your marriage, share it with your spouse, talk it out; unspoken expectations (I’ll share more on this later) have ruined many a marriages.
  • Determine what expectations can be realistically incorporated into your day-to-day lives.

One of the most important things I learned from Scott was a marriage is where two completely different people with completely different backgrounds decide to come together and become one unit. Until they die (again, figuratively) as individuals they cannot be reborn as one flesh.

A marriage is between TWO people that desire to be wanted and needed and does not include your parents, friends, co-workers, and so on. Just you two. Please know that the friend that is always ready to listen could possibly leave you single once they find love. And if that friendship happens to end, you wouldn’t want your ‘dirty laundry’ appearing on Twitter or Facebook during a spiteful rant. If you absolutely need to involve someone, find a licensed marital counselor in your area (here are a few helpful links African American Marriage Counseling, American Association of Christian Counselors, and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy). They are sworn by law to keep what is discussed private and confidential.

Know that my wife and I still have disputes. We do not claim to be perfect or have it all together. We do however strive to be the best example of a husband and wife team for others but mainly our son and future children. When they grow up and get married, we want to know that we provided a good example of what a marital partnership should be. I am here to encourage you that things do get better. It will take a small investment of your time, patience, hard work, and dying (figuratively) so your marriage can live.

So BMWK – are you self-serving? Are you willing to die to self so that your marriage can live? What example are you and your spouse setting for your children, family, and nieces and nephews?

About the author

Keith Luter wrote 7 articles on this blog.

I am a husband, father, foodie, singer, musician, style buff (it's a thing) and multipotentialist. I contribute to Black and Married with Kids, Fashion Mingle and my own blog #ImADapperDad. I am a grateful and valued member of the Lakewood Church worship team under the direction of Steve Crawford, Da’dra Crawford-Greathouse, Israel Houghton and Cindy Ratcliff. I live in Houston with my wife and son.

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