Are you and your spouse frustrated, fighting, and threatening each other with divorce? I am going to give you two pieces of advice, and I want you to put them into practice immediately.
- Stop talking about your problems.
You read that right. Just stop. Don’t say another word about them. Try if possible to give yourself a break from even thinking about them. You are in a reactive state, and talking about your problems will not help at this stage. It’s more important to begin to create safety. One thing that will make it safe for you to both be in the same space is to table talking about your problems.
- Mind your manners.
If you never developed good manners, now is the time for you to get started. Remember to say please and thank you. Don’t call each other names. And before you tell me you can’t control yourself, let me interrupt you. Yes, you can. When you get pulled over by a policeman, do you behave yourself, even though you are upset? Of course you do. That means you have control over what you say and how you act. And lastly, act like you are interested in what your spouse is saying. Brush up on your listening skills.
Nobody’s marriage is perfect. Don’t ever believe somebody out there got a great marriage and all you got was the lousy t-shirt. At BEST, marriage is difficult. At worst, it’s a nightmare. Sometimes, even the best marriages can be horrid for years at a time. But before you think I am anti-marriage, let me share one of my favorite quotes by Bishop Jeremy Taylor:
“Marriage hath in it less of beauty but more of safety, than the single life; it hath more care, but less danger, it is more merry, and more sad; it is fuller of sorrows, and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but it is supported by all the strengths of love and charity, and those burdens are delightful.”
Marriage is worth the suffering.
Now, before you decide something as mundane as manners can’t help you, I want you to try doing those two things for two weeks. You’ll thank me later.