Last week we started discussing some misconceptions that Christians tend to have about marriage. You can read last week's post here.
This week, we're tackling Myth #2: Disagreements won't be that serious when you're a Christian couple.
Here's the thing: EVERY marriage has issues. It doesn’t matter if you went to every singles ministry conference to prepare yourself for “The One,” or had thorough premarital counseling. I don’t care if you read every book on Christian marriage with your partner and pray every morning and night. It doesn’t matter if you see photos of your friends posted on Facebook of the latest meal their spouse cooked for them, or the vacation they’re on in the Caribbean. EVERY couple has issues. Period.
The sooner you believe this, the less insecure you’ll become about your own issues.
The thing with social media is that people usually post pictures and update statuses when cool, romantic, awesome things happen during the day. Yeah people post about a jerk who cut them off in traffic, but you don’t see people post statuses like: “Just argued with my husband. Pissed off as hell,” or anything like that. No, instead you’ll see cute pictures of color-coordinated church outfits.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to throw shade at people who only post happy moments on Facebook. I’m a very private person myself. It’s just that sometimes we unintentionally create illusions, or show an incomplete picture of our lives on social media.
So when you and your spouse start to really go through serious stuff, you feel alone. Like there’s something wrong with you because you and your spouse must be the only ones that yell at each other, or sleep separately when you just feel like punching a whole in the wall every time you think about the argument you just had. Or packing up and spending the weekend at your parents’ house because you need time to calm down and process things.
You’re not alone. Halfway through our first year my husband and I had a MAJOR argument. I don’t remember what it was about, but I do remember that my husband got so upset that he left. For hours. Like, he didn’t come back home until early the next morning. He was so mad when he left that I was worried he’d driven off somewhere and gotten into an accident and was lying in a ditch somewhere. But I was still angry and prideful, so I didn’t want to call him to find out if he was okay. Turned out that he actually had just stayed in the parking lot of our apartment complex to cool down and ended falling asleep (my husband can fall asleep anywhere, sometimes without even meaning to, lol).
Point is, I felt so awful. I mean, here we were, 6 months in, and we’re sleeping apart. We vowed just a few months earlier to be godly, loving, and compassionate to each other. Getting married wasn't a decision we had made lightly, either. Both of us had prayed and been convicted that we should move forward with our relationship. We had read a book on marriage and family life together, planned how we want to handle arguments, everything. So why was I currently home alone? In our bed alone? Contemplating packing up my stuff and going back to my mom in Florida?
I wish someone had sat me down and told me how quickly stuff gets real. For a long time I was insecure about my marriage because I felt like we were the only ones going through these things. But after talking to close friends about their marriages, I realized something: we’re all going through the same things.
So are you and your spouse weird for having conflict the first month of marriage? Nope. Is there anything you can do to make your arguments less toxic, more emotionally mature?
Yup. Here are some tips that my husband and I try to do every time we run into issues:
1. Talk about everything.
Nothing should be off limits.
@@If something bothers you, don’t just brush it off and think it will get better on its own somehow. Let your spouse know what you’re thinking.@@ The sooner you address it, the sooner you guys can start working toward a solution.
2. Don’t trivialize the issue.
@@Once your spouse brings something to your attention, don’t make them feel like they’re over-reacting or crazy. If it’s important to them, there’s a reason.@@ You may not understand why at first. But make your relationship a safe place for them to express whatever they’re thinking without you being condescending or dismissing their concerns.
So let them pour out their heart to you. And then,
3. Commit to a solution.
To commit to something means to pledge or dedicate yourself to something. That means doing everything in your power to do the part you agreed to do. So if you and your spouse agree to commit to sitting down at the end of each week to discuss your finances, or go on a date night every month, then everything else is secondary to that commitment.
4. Find a mentor couple.
No one has all the answers. And whatever issues you and your spouse face, others have faced it too. So find a couple that can help give you guys some perspective on your problems, advise you, pray for you and with you.
If you don’t, you’ll start feeling like there’s something wrong with you, that there must be a reason why you’re the only one going through your situation. And you’ll end up isolated, lonely, and bitter.
Problems in a Christian marriage are real. Disagreements are inevitable. But if you strive to implement these steps, you’ll find that each time you face your problems together, they make your marriage stronger instead of causing isolation.