The list of things couples fight about is expansive – and it can be expensive. It can cost us peace, connection, and intimacy.
But today, it’s not about you and me. It’s a chance to peak in on the universal topics that turn us topsy turvy. Marital conflict happens in every marriage. The secret is to remember not to make the little things the big things – no matter how big they seem in the moment.
Happy wife, happy life. I’m not sure who coined that phrase, but probably somebody who learned it the hard way. Comedian Jeff Allen has made it the crown jewel in his stand up act for years. I guess you can say it’s stood the test of time.
Jeff touches on a touchy subject in a funny way. But candidly, who runs the table at your house? Is your spouse the boss? Or do you have the final word? Marriage works best as a partnership, with each partner having a voice. If one of you has become a silent partner, it’s an issue.
But for now, take a moment to get Jeff’s take on the topic. It’s gonna be fun. I promise.
Tim Hawkins is a terrific talent – a Christian comedian that never fails to make me laugh. Often – at myself. He seems to have an uncanny eye into the relationships between us married folks. After all, he is one.
And he is dead on in his observations. I’m just grateful my husband doesn’t make HIS living as a stand up comic. Lord knows – I’d be fodder for that act!
You may recall the “Doghouse” video from a few weeks back. Well, here’s the sequel. Still funny – still great at making the point. The doghouse prolongs the conflict by punishing the “guilty” party. Who made us the judge? Hash it out and move on people! Life’s too short for this kind of stuff. So ask yourself as you chuckle, “could this be us??”
In our new book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Stay Up and Fight!, my husband Ron and I bust a Bible myth. Every Christian couple heard it in pre-marital counseling. Sometimes it came as bridal shower advice from Aunt Anna. And if you haven’t heard it in a women’s Bible study you’re just not at the right church! You know the verse: don’t let the sun go down on your anger. For years I thought that meant we had to keep at it till we solved the problem, identified a solution, or achieved a harmonious outcome.
Nope. We got it wrong, and so have millions of marrieds who were taught “No solution. No sleep.” Or more often for us, at least a cease fire that masqueraded as a solution when we were both too worn out to care any more and one of us said, “Uncle” and threw in the towel.
That’s not what it means. Look at it again. “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Eph. 4:25 (NLT). It doesn’t say “don’t go to bed till you’ve brokered a deal.” Or “Stay up until dialogue creates unity and perfect alignment.” We’ve been overthinking this and making it all far too complicated. Don’t go to bed angry. But by all means, go to bed. Makes perfect sense – and my mother always said that going to bed mad was bad for your digestion anyway.
How long does it take to realize, “Whoa, we’ve let our emotions get way out of hand.” You know when you’ve crossed that line. A good rule of thumb is if there are tears, accusation, blame, or someone spitting while s(he) talks – you’re there. And when you’ve acknowledged that, the rest is easy—or at least possible. ” I don’t feel good about how we’re doing this, and I’m fairly sure God’s not feeling honored by our behavior. Can we put a stake in this for tonight, pray and release the anger we’re experiencing, and come back together in the morning with clear heads?”
It requires both of you to make the decision. But it only takes one of you to speak up to propose it.
It’s not the weight of the conflict that drags us down. It’s how long we’re willing to hold on to it. To illustrate this point perfectly, take a moment to watch this 2-minute You Tube flick. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.
Sick and tired of the same old fights? Marital conflict is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Debbie Chavez hosts us today on her show, discussing our new book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! We love your comments and questions. Drop them in the comments and we’ll be sure to respond quickly!
Merriam Webster defines it as follows: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this.
I understand it. It’s the capacity I’m a little light on.
Women are supposed to be better at this than men, research says. I didn’t participate in that survey. I am, however, vividly aware of when I need empathy and my husband isn’t providing it. That I get.
In any case, let’s take a peak, with a humorous poke, at the role of empathy and marital conflict.
Marital conflict is tough. But it happens in every marriage at one time or another. The kiss and make-up part can be fun, but the fight to
the finish wears us out. Sometimes we’re just glad it’s over and retreat to recover. A little alone time is okay after a difficult interaction. Gather your thoughts (and your strength) to move forward.
But on occasion, the conflict has an “afterlife.” It’s the penalty. The punishment that keeps the issue alive with a “you need to pay for what you did,” mindset. It’s damaging. My dad used to say, “I’m in the doghouse with your mother.” And while the punishment is nothing to laugh about, this video can help point out just how ridiculous it is.
It’s Friday at Family Matters – time for a little levity. How many times in the middle of an “intense moment of fellowship” with your spouse did it suddenly occur to you, “Why are we fighting over this?
It’s ridiculous!” Ron and I have sometimes burst into a belly busting laugh over how incredibly petty the “thing” is that can create such energy. So, join us for a chuckle and remember – it’s often not that big a deal!!!
It’s Friday, and time for a good laugh – perhaps at our own expense. See if any of this seems familiar to you. Marital conflict is nothing to laugh about, but sometimes, we take ourselves waaay too seriously! Let’s get serious about lightening up and not going over the top!
Enjoy! There’s a short ad up front, but you can skip it!