Marriage Saving Advice: Have A Soul Connection With Your Spouse Even If All Seems Lost
Many of us realize that marriage is not the easiest relationship in the world, but why is it so hard? Unless we adopt children, the only relatives that we get to choose are our spouses. Seems like it should work out, right? We can not change our parents or choose new siblings, but marriage-- ahh that's a whole different thing.
Marriage brings out the best and the worst in a person's character and shows us what we are capable of doing, both positive and negative. This special relationship challenges our mental, spiritual, social, and physical selves. Unfortunately, the natural human reaction to hard or stressful situations is fight or flight.
So after a few major disagreements with a spouse, frustrated partners second guess their initial decision to wed. The wheels start turning, and the flight response to the stressful situation becomes more and more attractive.
But what can you do if the fires of passion have burned out and only angry ones remain? How can you keep your soul connection with your spouse even during times of conflict?
1. Have confidence in the decision that you have made. Then realize that just like you wouldn't normally divorce your mom or dad when they get on your last nerve, divorcing your spouse shouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind when he/she annoys or disappoints you you repeatedly. I know it's hard, but it's a key factor in the success of your marriage.
2. If God is not at the center of your relationship, consider welcoming Him into the situation. To start, only one spouse needs to make this decision, but it's best if both of you are on the same page. Praying together, and as individuals, can provide a solid foundation for your marriage and give you greater insight into what concerns your partner the most.
You can start with your own words or with a few books on prayer. A book that has been helpful for me, and numerous people I know, has been, Stormie Omartian: Power of a Praying Wife. The book covers everything from finances and career to sexuality, affection and emotions. It shows wives how to pray for their husbands even if they feel like they don't have the words. And it gives excellent advice for channeling frustration, hurt or anger into productive energy.
If you are a husband, try Power of a Praying Husband. Stormie enlists the help of her husband and other men for insight and wisdom in writing this book.
3. Make mutual respect a priority in your communication. If you find yourselves attacking each other personally, instead of discussing the pros and cons of a particular decision or action, then take a step back to reevaluate the situation. Choose words that reaffirm while getting your point across. For example, instead of saying: "I hate it when you don't make time to be with me... the kids... etc." TRY "Remember when we did XYZ? That was so much fun and the kids loved it too. Want to do it again?" SPOUSE'S REPLY HERE "Great! What date works for you?"
Additionally, don't let other family members--kids, in-laws, steps, exes cloud your communication with each other. When they want to butt in, *respectfully* tell them to butt out. Then re-prioritize and refocus your attention on each other.
4. Listen even if you feel like you've heard the same statement hashed over and over again. Sometimes venting is necessary, and if your spouse can't release his/her mental baggage with you, to whom will they voice their concerns? The lack of listening skills in marriage is one reason emotional infidelity gets started in the first place. If you take the time to listen now, you can avoid the headaches and heartaches associated with these extramarital relationships.
5. Start a ritual just for the two of you. Ideally, you'll both take time out to do it every day or a few times a week. Engaging in ritual behavior, like sharing coffee, watching funny movies together or taking walks, gives you something to look forward to and can help you build intimacy.
6. Consider an organized marriage retreat. Retreats are great because, the facilitators give couples helpful tools for communicating, relating and often mating. You'll see other couples who are going through the same challenges, and you'll have time to focus solely on your relationship. No work, no kids/in-laws, no well-meaning friends, and no focusing on the ills of life.
7. Finally, make a point to get away every once in a while. This idea dovetails from the previous suggestion, but this time you and your honey will be alone. Whether you get your kids out of the house for a weekend or you book a seven day vacation to the Bahamas, it is necessary for you and your husband or wife to have extended alone time without any distractions.
These are just a few suggestions to help you renew the soul connection with your spouse.
About the Author
Keishia Lee-Louis has written for iVillage.com, BibleResourceCenter.com, and in many other publications. Currently, she is writing a book on marriage and relationships to be published in Spring 2006.
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