Most quarrels are really not about “the what” that is being presented
…there are deeper, hidden issues that fuel these conflicts and make them far more intense and hurtful than they would otherwise be.
“Pick-me, please pick me…” That nagging heart-wrenching thought when teams were being picked on the playground and you didn’t want to be the last one standing there waiting for someone to see your value, to choose you!
Marriage can be a very lonely place when you feel your spouse is not choosing you. We all want to be respected for who we are, our experiences, our emotions, our hurts and joys. We want to be treasured and treated with kindness and appreciation.
When there are conflicts in our relationships first of all, it is so important to be able to give each other the gift of acknowledging each other’s perspective and all the history that makes us who we are (the depth of the iceberg), the gift of validating that “it is okay that you are different than me.”
Yes, marriage is about becoming “one” but God brings together a man and a woman, two distinct human beings, from different experiences, honoring their uniqueness. In the gift of marriage God creates a “safe place” so that they can help each other on the path to salvation, to live Christ-centered lives.
The first step is to come together in that inner circle of marriage and protect the time to listen and choose one another. Giving each other the gift of listening with loving ears, looking into each other’s eyes, facing each other, and validating that it is okay that we “see” things differently. To do this it is necessary to put your own thoughts, your feelings aside, to truly listen to your spouses’ perspective, without reacting to what they are saying, interrupting, or even correcting what is being said. Marriage is a journey, a day to day path that allows us to practice this way of listening to each other. This is so hard, this is why we need God to be able to treat each other in this loving way every day!
When we create a safe place in our marriages where each of us is known and appreciated for who we are (not only on the surface but deep where our experiences, our emotions, our hurts lie) is where true intimacy is found and healing begins! When we learn to love each other through our differences and disagreements by truly listening, we experience loving each other with God’s love. We are His Beloved, His children!
As a marriage therapist I help couples master the steps of “dialogue”, the “sacrament of listening” to each other. To build strong connections in marriage we need to feel safe enough to love each other with “agape” Christ-like love, sacrificial love, which means TODAY start by choosing your spouse, make them your priority!