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18October2018

Intimacy4us

How to purify your marriage...

“You are useless, why on earth did I marry you? My father was right, you can’t even change a light bulb, how could you possibly care for me!”O goodness, you really weren’t thinking when you just spoke. It is just that he makes you so mad and then things just slip out. You bite your lip and only glance at your spouse. He looks disappointed and hurt. A weak “sorry, love” will not help this time. So what now?

Do you have a water purifier at home or work? Have you seen the disgusting mess stuck in the filters after months of use? If you do not remove that filth, the filter will not be able to keep producing the same quality water. You will definitely not just leave it until the purifier breaks down – it’s too expensive!

Your marriage is worth more than a water purifier so why do you leave your marriage filters for filth to accumulate? That filth influences the relationship between you and your spouse as well as your relationship with God. Do not let hurtful words and actions keep you from talking to God with a clean conscious during your quiet time.

Maybe you are thinking: “But my husband and I have said so many ugly things to each other. Is there ever an opportunity to turn back? It will be very difficult.” With God all things are possible – no one said anything about it being easy. Put on your garden gloves, get your scrub brush, a bucket of soapy water and place God on speed dial. It is time to purify your filters!

Two heads in one (prayer)hat

To become one in body brings you and your spouse closer together. It is great, but sex does not necessarily bring you closer together in spirit. How do you spiritually become one? The answer is joint Bible study. Do you read your Bible on your own and does your husband pray alone? It is time change this.

Decide on a time that will suit both of you – maybe before work in the mornings or before bed time in the evenings. Take turns to read pieces from the Bible for each other. When you pray, thank God for the privilege to be married to each other and ask Him to bless your marriage. Couples that pray together experience a decline in conflict and create a deeper spiritual bond.

It is not a competition

Are you (subconsciously) keeping score of who wins the arguments? Stop with it immediately; it is not a competition. “You won the argument the last time, when is it my turn?”

The moment you start focusing on the statistics, you lose the plot of the story completely. “I can’t remember when we argued last week, but I remember I got my way.” Does this sound familiar?

The person that is always on the losing side eventually feels discontented. They might not say anything, but in reality they think you are a bully. Who is wrong and who is right is not important. What is important is what you are arguing about. Why are you unhappy? Focus on the problem, not the argument. You do not always have to be right. Even if you are.

Keep the (young) cows out of the ditch

How long does it take you to tell your spouse he is doing something wrong? Some people cannot wait to highlight their partner’s mistakes while others will not say anything for a long time and then one day just explode. Both instances lead to unnecessary conflict. No one wants to constantly be reminded of their mistakes. Remember, you are not perfect; how can you expect your spouse to be? Your spouse is just a human being with his own faults, opinions and dreams.

Does it irritate you if hubby doesn’t put his hand in front of his mouth when he yawns in conversation? Do not wait till he does it for the 50th time before you say something. Talk to him about it the first time – do not let the problem become an old cow for you to drag out of the ditch. “Is it not better to leave the problem till it goes away? Maybe he will realize that he has bad manners.”

Here is why not: Every time hubby has finished stretching his jaw, you sit and growl for who knows how long and he has no idea why you are miserable. He gets the idea that he has to defend himself against this inexplicable attack. Eventually you are both growling and in a moment heads are rolling. It can be avoided so easily by just talking to each other. Your partner deserves to know what is happening in your head, he isn’t psychic. How on earth should he smell what is bothering you? Good communication is the key to success in resolving any conflict. Talk and talk and talk again!

Always and never

How many times do you tell your husband: “You never help me with the dishes!” Or he tells you “You always complain about everything!” Wait, do not exaggerate. Words like “always” and “never” are worms in the apple you skin with hubby. It spoils everything. Avoid words in the conversation that are absolute because it is usually removed from reality.

Do not throw allegations or accusations in your husband’s face from the word go. Rather than saying: “Listen, it’s time we have a talk about your laziness”, try formulating your sentence like this: “I really want to talk to you about your part of the chores. I do not feel as if I am making the grade.”

The moment one of you exaggerates the problem or start throwing around accusations, the other instinctively jumps to the defensive. Your partner is so busy defending himself that the cause of the argument gets lost. Tomorrow you’ll bark at each other again about the same problem plus the tail it got today.

The no-go-words

Every time you call your partner “stupid” or something worse, a piece of your relationship dies. Sometimes we don’t even mean it, we just want to say something that hurts the other person. Unfortunately you don’t just afflict your partner’s feelings, you also damage one of God’s creations.

The tongue is sharper than double-edged sword. Do you struggle to keep it in check? Offer it up in prayer. Let go of your ego and ask your husband to also pray for you about the situation. He is not going to think less of you, on the contrary, he will gain new respect for you.

Do it just one more time . . .

We all know how a bully gets his way – he threatens you with something that is important to you. What do you and hubby threaten each other with to get your way? Do you refuse sex if he doesn’t do what you ask? Does he refuse to lend you his car if you do not agree with him? No, no, no! You are adults so don’t act like children. What is the use if you partner only agrees because he was threatened? What did you achieve then?

How do you react if your husband threatens you? Do you then do the opposite on purpose just to spite him? You are only making the problem ten times worse!

This ties in with the fact that an argument is not a competition to determine who can get his/her way every time. God teaches us that love is not selfish and does not seek its own interests. Keep it in mind the next time you want to perform a feet-stamp-tirade to get your way. And give yourself a smack on the bum for your thoughtlessness.

A time and place for everything

Has it happened that you have attacked each other in public, in front of friends/family or the kids? You probably felt very bad afterwards. It is awful to fight, but more so when you realise other people now know about your problems and how you treat each other. Even worse, are you inclined to attack your loved one in front of other people so they can “see” how unreasonable/bad he is? Sorry, but that will not work. There is a time and place for everything. Let it be until you get home and you are able to talk it out alone behind closed doors.

It is very unfair towards your partner to involve other people in your fight. After all, the problem lies between the two of you. It is private and personal. Similarly, it is very uncomfortable for those that have to witness the tirade. Your guest will quickly head for the door and you will not be invited to get-togethers again any time soon.

“Sometimes my wife and I can argue about something for hours and not get anywhere. There are only so many hours in a day, what do we do?”

First, if you see the conversation is on a road to nowhere, take a break with the agreement that you will continue when you both feel fresh again. Remember, this is not a way to escape the problem. It just gives you some time to rethink what has already been said and bring new solutions to the table.

Second, do not start an argument the moment you have to drive to work or you want to go out. It is not going to be productive. Postpone it for a bit but do not leave it all together.

It is going to take time and a lot of patience to get your marriage filters clean. Hold on (and not to hubby’s faults), push through and the reward will be utterly worth it.

Article by THALIA DU PREEZ

Additional sources: christianadviceonmarriage.com; ivillage.com