Much of marital unhappiness and tension can be drilled down to this single cause – a lack of understanding of the other person.
Take this scenario for example: Husband comes home, sets down his briefcase, heads to the couch and turns on the TV. Wife sees this and immediately feels irritated that he isn't lifting a finger to help her with the kids or with chores.
Does this sound familiar?
If we think about it, is he wrong for wanting a bit of space to zone out and relax after a tiring day? And is it her fault for wanting a bit of help and support in the home?
The answer to both questions is "no".
To keep a full-blown quarrel from brewing, sometimes it simply takes a bit of a change in perspective.
Perhaps the wife might think: “Oh, he’s probably had a hard day. Maybe it’s good to let him chill out for a couple of minutes.” And the husband: “She looks a bit tired out. Maybe I should get up and help with the dishes.”
The tension in the air would likely melt away and be replaced by a renewed sense of appreciation and love for our spouse.
Growing in understanding
Sometimes we fail to communicate our needs to our partner, and we wrongly assume that the person knows. And when they go unmet, we grow resentful.
But here’s the good news -- it’s never too late to cultivate new habits of connection with our spouse.
To help you grow in your understanding of each other, you can print out the following questions and bring them along to your next scheduled date-night.
Then spend some time over a meal asking each other these questions, and be sure to listen attentively and take notes!
Here are the questions:
- What helps you feel relaxed at home?
- What is your biggest stress factor at the moment?
- How can I better support you in this burden that you’re carrying?
- What can I do to make you feel loved?
- What is your greatest fear?
- How do you prefer me to comfort you when you’re feeling down?
- What is one aspect in our marriage you’d like me to improve on?
- How do you think we can better complement each other?
It’s never too late to cultivate new habits of connection with our spouse.
A journey of discovery
As we walk towards greater intimacy, we may uncover surprising finds but also some unexpected hurts. It is important to remember that our goal is not to attack the other person; we’re in fact working towards a common goal: A stronger marriage and partnership for life.
Remember that our goal is not to attack the other person; we’re working towards a common goal: A stronger marriage and partnership for life.
© 2019 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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