Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls: Avoiding a Crash in Your Relationship

Today, a woman told me her story. She awoke this morning after an incredibly telling dream. She dreamed she was driving on a highway when unexpectedly, the car in front of her slammed on brakes and came to an abrupt stop. With her children in the car, her life flashed before her eyes, her heart sunk, she didn’t have enough time to stop or even slow down, “this was the end.” Yet all of a sudden, she saw an out, made a sharp turn to her right and veered off onto the shoulder where there was a clear path, wide enough for her to avoid what could have potentially been a fatal crash. Magically, she was saved. A split second decision, allowed life to remain.

Interesting dream, I said. Then, it all made sense. She went on to describe that most recently her marriage had left her feeling sad, desperate and wishing she could find an escape. She knew not how to repair her marriage or where to go in her desperation.

Stressors from the world had been suffocating their relationship for months. She was tired, over run, and didn’t have many resources left to tolerate her husband’s intensity, which was so often negative and sharp. Her children, though stressful at times, she could handle; expecting their grumpiness as they were still learning how to self-regulate. Her husband however, she was tired of having to manage. His mood was dark, his temper, short, his tongue was sharp. She knew something was wrong, but knew not how to mend, plus she had enough on her plate without having to manage his stress too. He had never been very good at managing his needs. Stress just ate away at him, she said. He was a man of good intention, but poor self-awareness. Thus, his care typically fell into the hands of others. He was the type to push on full speed ahead, despite signals that it was too much. He couldn’t see that his short temper with the children was telling him to set better boundaries or take on less, or that his impatience was really extreme fatigue. He needed to take more responsibility for finding ways to relax and better care for himself emotionally and physically. His body needed rest, his mind needed peace. And as stress continued to mount in his life, sadness mounted in hers. The climate in the household was hostile.

Then one day, she made a choice. A moment that likely helped her avoid a fatal crash that her marriage wouldn’t be able to come back from. She knew that the longer she remained in this mode, the worse her soul would feel. “My thoughts were becoming consumed with negativity about my husband and my marriage, I was focusing on everything that was wrong with him.” Then I realized “my peace is mine to keep and I am choosing to keep it.” From that moment on, if I noticed negativity, I replaced it with the words, “stay positive.” She remembered mercy. She tried to remember his innate goodness and do things that she knew maintained her joy. At that moment, she took control of herself. She controlled where she allowed her thoughts to go, she let go of trying to manage something that wasn’t in her hands. In doing so, she leaned in to God, “I prayed for God to give him the peace that only His spirit could provide.”

I did my part and stopped trying to do the rest. She prayed for God to help her in being her best, and never stopped seeking her joy. She chose to stay present with her children, and at work, finding joy in these other aspects of who she was. In the toughest moments, she would go for walks when the household felt stressful.

“God fill me with your positivity, and bring my husband the peace only you can provide,” she would pray on her walks. It was a choice. She chose well, sought her joy, and let God do the rest. Then, one day out of nowhere, her husband came over to her, after not talking much for a week, and began rubbing her back. He asked her to take a walk and began crying as he explained all that was consuming him. That was the moment he saw himself in the mirror and began opening up. It was the moment that brought their connection back. Through Gods’ grace and seeking our best self, we choose to make or break a life toward His purpose.

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