One minute there is peace, and all seems right in the world (rainbows and sunshine.)
The next minute friction, raised voices and hurt feelings (heavy rains with thunder & lightning.)
Zero to sixty in two seconds with heads spinning and feeling out-of-control-- that's how I felt recently after asking my husband to move a yard sale sign.
A simple request (from my perspective) that resulted in a surprising response.
I know we aren’t the only married couple who has found themselves in an argument over something mundane and silly!
This event reminded me that when times are good marriage is easy- when challenges arise; marriage is hard.
Marriage is much like a rollercoaster ride- a thrilling trip filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and heightened emotions.
So, when we find ourselves in a challenging time filled with stress, chaos, and frustrations, how do we manage without inflicting harm to our marriage and derailing the ride?
More simply, how to cope united as a couple when times get tough?
That's the million-dollar question, and I believe Ephesians 4:2-3 might contain the answer:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Key actions or words:
Completely humble, gentle, and patient.
Bearing together in love.
Every effort to keep unity through the bond of peace.
When we apply these principles to the context of marriage, we:
Respond to any situation from a place of humility, gentleness, and patience.
Resolve to take actions together from a position of love- actions which benefit our spouse.
Endeavor to keep the peace- at all costs. (Even admitting we were wrong or letting go of transgressions. )
When frustrations flare, and tempers rise patience, love and peace seem to be the first things out the door!
That’s why we need to be deliberate in filling our own love tanks in advance. How?
Spending time with God and being filled with His love, presence, and word. All the while, making sure we see God as our single source of happiness and fulfillment.
Then, we purposefully infuse positive thoughts into our minds about our spouse and speak words of encouragement and affirmation to them.
On average, an adult is awake for 940 minutes in a day. Can you spare maybe 10 minutes a day to spend time with God? How about 10 minutes a day to think about your spouse? (To intentionally dwell upon their positive attributes, strengths and abilities. Choosing to see how they are a blessing in your life.) Maybe spend a minute or two telling your spouse something affirmative? (Sharing an email or text expressing your feelings for them. Thanking them for something or reminiscing about a happy memory.)
Investing time to refill your love tank on the front end, enables us to put Ephesians 4 into practice, thereby, we are positioned to weather the storms and actually enjoy the rollercoaster ride.
Because we have everything in place to positively respond as a unified couple.
(Even moving the yard sale sign.)
Father, you are our source of love, joy, peace, and contentment. When we are filled with you, our ability to be humble, patience and kind are possible. Help us to see our spouse as a blessing and give us a heart capable of extending grace and quickly speaking words of love and gratitude into our marriage.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~ Ephesian 4:32