Conflict

Do You Have A Marriage Mindset?

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Every time I reflect on my journey from singleness to marriage, and now being a wife with kids, one thing continues to stand out to me: it’s all about mindset.

When my husband and I first started dating, we clashed A LOT. We had been great friends up until that point, but once our differences started causing disagreements between us, I would lose my temper, ignore his calls and text messages, and basically “punish” him. In my mind I was setting boundaries in our relationship and showing him exactly what I would and would NOT put up with.

But as I continued that pattern into our marriage, I realized that my habits were going to destroy my marriage slow if I let them continue. Every time something happened between us I was making it all about myself and seeing him as the villain in the situation.

I was selfish.

If you haven’t read it already, I wrote a post about the night we had our biggest fight. It was the turning point in our relationship, because my eyes were finally opened to the truth.

Our marriage wasn’t about me. It was about US.

The thing you have to remember when you go through rough patches in your marriage is that the RELATIONSHIP is the most important thing. Yes, your feelings count. Yes, your spouse’s issues have to be addressed. But you can only work things out properly when you’re doing it with the mindset of making your relationship better.

Here are some ways having the marriage mindset enhances your relationship with your spouse:

1.  It gives you courage to let go of destructive habits. Some of us struggle with deep-rooted issues that result in destructive decisions: addictions, affairs, porn, fault-finding, verbal abuse. When your relationship becomes your internal priority, you’ll quickly realize that you can’t continue to indulge in these things AND have a great relationship with your spouse. You’ll give up whatever is necessary in order to build and heal your marriage.

2.  It gives you courage to forgive sincerely. When you feel resentful about having to put your pride aside, it’s because you’ve made yourself the most important person in the relationship, instead of the relationship itself. When your relationship is the priority, you’ll forgive freely once you’ve made peace with your partner’s mistakes because you know that you can only move forward if you work together to get past it. You realize that growth takes time and they won’t get it right every time.

3. It gives you courage to get help-before it's too late. When your marriage is the priority, and not your pride, you’ll realize that you don’t have all the answers. You’ll see that you can’t do it all by yourself. And that will lead you to seek wisdom and accountability from people who have great marriages, counselors, or therapists. Anyone who feels like they don’t want people knowing their business, or that they don’t need help even when their marriage is on the brink of shattering, is still putting their ego first. EVERYONE needs accountability. EVERYONE has something they can improve on.

The love that you share with your spouse is sacred. It’s beautiful. And when you switch your mindset from “me” to “we,” you ensure that your marriage will stand any test that you comes your way.

Until next time!

Remember to comment below and let me know what you’ve discovered about the “marriage mindset” in your own experience.

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How I Got My Husband to Start Apologizing To Me

When we were dating, whenever my husband and I would get into a fight, I would freeze him out with the silent treatment for a few hours. I would ignore his calls and texts, and make sure his “punishment” was enough to make him so sorry that he would never do it again.

When we got married though, I realized really quickly that approach was just not gonna work long-term. It started to feel downright childish and silly. But I still didn’t know how to get him to understand that there were certain things that were hurtful that I wanted him to just stop. So I would raise my voice at him, or snap at him, and the mood between us would be ruined the rest of the day.

Until one day, I did something different.

I apologized FIRST.

That’s right. I searched my heart. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw an angry person who was holding a grudge. And I realized there was no room for that person in my marriage if I wanted it to last.

So I swallowed my pride, tiptoed over to him, cleared my throat awkwardly and said, “I’m sorry for yelling at you earlier. I was hurt about what you said, and I wanted to hurt you back, but that’s not the way to solve things.”

My husband looked taken aback at first. Okay, I’ll be honest. He looked shocked, but pleased at the same time. The tension between us died so quickly, I thought I had imagined it. Then he said, “I’m sorry too.” He went on to explain that he hadn’t meant to hurt me, but was only trying to be honest with me about things.

Since then, our “fights” don’t last more than a few minutes. If it happens in the morning, by the time we get to work, we end up sending an “I’m sorry❤” text to each other. Sometimes I’m thinking about apologizing and he ends up texting me first.

The point is, our relationship has become a place where we both feel safe enough to let our guard down, let our pride go, and say “I’m sorry,” no matter who was technically to blame.

So if your relationship is one where you or your partner have long periods of coldness towards each other, I’m encouraging you to be the change in your relationship. I know it’s hard. I know it feels awkward. But you’re giving up your pride or ego in exchange for something MUCH more valuable: an AMAZING marriage!  

Comment below: How do your disagreements usually get resolved? I'll take funny, sweet, and weird ones 😀

P.S. If you haven't already, download our NEWEST ebook 3 Secrets to a Happy Healthy Marriage. It's a quick, easy read filled with great nuggets. Email me at info@purecouples.org with your questions as you read. 

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I Let Him Go To Bed Mad at Me (Here's Why)

You ever had a fight with your spouse where you feel embarrassed later when you remember the things you said?

I have. This week, as a matter of fact.

And because I always use my own life as an object lesson for our readers, I’m going to share this embarrassing tiff we had.

We were sitting down together on the couch. The lights were dimmed, the Christmas tree was lit up, and the kids were asleep. And there we were…..having a budget meeting.

I should pause here to mention that I can be a bit of a defensive person.

So there we were, about to end our meeting. We were done going through the budget for the upcoming month.  We had discussed adjustments we needed to make in certain areas, and I was feeling so proud of myself for having made it through the meeting without getting frustrated or anxious.

I celebrated too soon.

My husband brought up the idea of debt consolidation. I was against the idea and I explained why. He disagreed with me and we went back and forth for a minutes trying to talk one another out of our different opinions. Finally, he told me in a tone dripping with sarcasm that maybe I should be the one to do some research on it, since he’s the one that “always handles stuff like this.”

Well. That did not go down well with me.  I replied in a tone that was equally laced with sarcasm, “Well, maybe if you’d married somebody else, your life would be perfect.”

Yes, you guys. I took it there. It was super wrong, I admit it. But that’s what I said.

Things only went downhill from there. “You’d love that wouldn’t you? That way you could run back to your mom!” And with that he stomped down the hall to go sulk in our bedroom.

Of course, I wasn’t going to let him have the last word. “It’s not too late,” I called out as he left. Then I sat there in the dark room by myself looking at the Christmas tree. It didn’t take more than 2 minutes for me to feel incredibly childish and disgusted with myself for reacting the way I had.

I didn’t want us to go to bed angry with each other, so after a few more minutes of sitting there by myself (my pride, yal’ll!) I slipped off the couch and walked toward the room. When I opened the door there he was on the bed in the dark, scrolling on the computer. I stood there for a second, not knowing how to start my apology. Our eyes met and he immediately shut the computer screen and turned away.

I got into the bed and pulled up the covers under my chin and then scooted over so that I was spooning his back. “I’m sorry,” I whispered to the back of his head.

“Ok,” was his muffled response.

“I’m really sorry babe. Do you accept my apology?” I moved even closer and squeeze-hugged him from behind so that he could tell I was sincere about making up.

“Yes, but I don’t feel like talking right now.”

I felt so bad. I knew the words I said out of pride had hurt him. Now I was ready to make up, but he wasn’t, and I didn’t blame him. So instead of trying to force him to talk it out with me, I decided to let him have his space.

“Do you want me to move over?” I asked. He quickly, “Yes, please.” So I rolled back over to my side of the bed and closed my eyes.

A couple of hours later I felt his arms around me in my sleep. “I’m sorry too,” he whispered in my ear. Or at least that’s what I remembered him saying before I fell back into unconsciousness.

The next morning we had a nice long talk about the whole situation, where we both apologized for our behavior towards each other.

I’m glad I let my husband have his space to process his emotions and thoughts instead of trying to force him to talk it out. I know that talking about stuff in the moment seems like a good idea, and it can be for some people. But some types of people don’t do well with trying to talk about an issue in the heat of the moment. Sometimes the hurt is too fresh for them to just put it behind them and forgive right away.

This situation also showed me that even though I get angry quickly and cool down just as fast (most of the time), I can’t just let stuff fly out my mouth. Words can’t ever be taken back, even when you ask for forgiveness sincerely. The hurt takes time to heal, and sometimes it does permanent damage to the relationship. 

I needed to sleep on the cold side of the bed that night to understand how much a few moments of temper can cause a bigger separation between my husband and I. I had made my bed and I needed to lie in it, so to speak. I couldn’t try to rush him into making up with me, especially when I was just as much at fault.

If your spouse is one of those people who takes a long time to get over stuff, don’t try to guilt them over it. It isn’t their responsibility to soothe your guilty conscience. Love, not force, is what conquers all. So love your spouse enough to give them the time and space they need to come to terms with their anger or hurt. Let them decide when they’re ready to make up. Otherwise that resentment and bitterness will always be simmering just beneath the surface of your interactions, slowly poisoning your relationship over time.

True forgiveness takes time to emerge. Forgiveness forced from a sense of obligation or duty isn’t real, and the cracks will start to show sooner or later. Do your spouse and your marriage a favor and give them the time they need to truly forgive you.

You won’t regret it.

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Why Weddings Don't Impress Me Anymore

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I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard that the divorce rate in America is about 50%, and that this particular statistic includes Christians. For the longest time I naively thought that if both people getting married love Jesus and each other, that the marriage would last no matter what. I thought that love always conquers all.  When I would hear about people getting divorced I would think to myself, “Well, they clearly didn’t trust God enough,” or “ If only people would put God first in their marriage…..”

I’ve always been a romantic. I’m a sucker for love stories and happy endings. I want to believe that people can live happily ever after, especially if we claim to believe in a God who can work miracles and make a way out of no way.

But as the years went by, and I witnessed people I loved going through some craziness in their marriages, I realized that my view of love and marriage and love conquering all had been extremely filtered. I realized that if love conquers all, it requires a brutal, heartbreaking struggle to get to the other side. And the sad truth is that a lot of the people who walk away from their marriages decide they just can’t do it. 

I can’t say I blame them. It’s extremely easy to get up in front of people who are cheering you on and make promises. It’s quite another to keep those promises when you feel like you don’t even recognize who your spouse is anymore. What if they become verbally abusive? What if they develop an addiction?  How do you keep holding on when it feels like every day your heart is getting stomped on by an insensitive or selfish spouse? How do you patiently keep loving your spouse through a life-changing illness or injury? Keeping your vows when you feel like there’s no place or person you can turn to can feel extremely isolating and painful.

So yes, I’ll come to your wedding and cheer you on as you make your vows. I’ll hoot and holler when it’s time to kiss the bride. But inside, I’ll be praying that you guys are willing to invest the same amount of money, energy, and effort into keeping your marriage healthy. I’ll pray that even when you want to quit, that God will hold you together through the supernatural power of His love. Because even though you the words you say in the moment are coming from a place that’s sincere and means well, there’s no way on earth you can follow through on your own. There will come a day when you’ll feel like you don’t want to be married anymore to the person standing in front of you. And when that day comes, you’ll need more than memories to keep you there.

You’ll need Him.

Nope, weddings don’t impress me anymore, but I’ll tell you what does.;

Couples that are transparent with other couples about their struggles; Couples that fight to find solutions for their issues; Spouses that are willing to go to therapy to dig deep and figure out why they’re messed up, and what they can do to heal and grow;

Couples that hold on to each other through the storms in faith that there’s light on the other side.

Now that’s impressive.

 

Till next time,

Kay