My husband always cleaned the vacuum before and after he vacuumed the house. I always thought it was a waste of time until he traveled away for a month and I had to do the vacuuming. When i used the vacuum I just kept it back after using, by the third week I noticed that the house didnt feel clean and fresh and it felt like I was having to dust the house again even after vacuuming. So the next time, I decided to clean the vacuum before I vacuumed the house. When I opened it up to remove the bag of dirt, the bag was already ripping at the edges from the dirt it was carrying. Wow! so this is all the dirt accumulated in my house/rug all these weeks. Now I get the logic.
Like our vacuum and dusty rugs, many marriages have swept their problems under the carpet FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE. This problem only gets worse and ends up becoming a big pile of dirt between them and they begin to wonder where it all went wrong. Look, resolving disagreements is a part of marriage and needs to be done if you want a healthy and clean marriage. Yes, it is hard but it needs to be done. No pain no gain. I get it and I understand you just want peace but at what cost? Sometimes you need to trouble the water so that dirt can settle and then you get rid of it, but this can only be done properly if God gives grace, wisdom, and discernment on how to go about it.
1. Before confronting your spouse about a problem always, always, always pray. I’m not trying to be over spiritual here but before rushing into a difficult conversation please pray. Many times we hit road blocks with our spouses because we neglect to seek God’s direction first. The answer to our problems isn’t within our own logical thinking and reasoning, but in the Lord Jesus.
2. Have you ever heard “it’s not what you are saying, but HOW you are saying it?” After prayer, reflect properly on what it is you are about to say to your spouse and check yourself for pride, stubbornness, or an unloving attitude as these sins tend to hide in the background of our heart.
3. Before you proceed, inform them ahead of time that you want to talk to them, this will help them prepare emotionally for what you want to say. This is especially important if you want to use the midnight tactics of ‘wake him/her up in the dead of the night’. Make sure you inform them in the morning or afternoon that you want to speak to them. No surprise confrontation or you will get surprise results.
4. When dealing with a major issue, please remember that big issues have small issues underneath that needs to be dealt with (remember all those ones you were sweeping under the carpet). Many arguments have underlining issues that need to be dealt with in order to resolve the bigger problems. Sometimes there’s insecurity, fear, doubt, resentment, rejection, or trust issues that mask themselves so that you can’t work towards resolution. Deal with those first then move on to the bigger issues.
5. A key ingredient for every couple to pass in resolving conflict is the ability to HEAR and be open to the truth of their problems. The truth isn’t always easy to accept or bear especially when it reveals an even bigger issue. However, when you can truthfully communicate and express yourself—it builds a greater trust and safe environment for both of you. Don’t run from the truth, embrace it, and trust God to help.
6. When resolving issues, always think RESPECT. It doesnt matter what they have done – Respect them still. You respect them not because of what they’ve done or who they are, but rather because they are made in the image of God and Christ died for them.
7. Lastly, FORGIVE. Choose to forgive as this will help bridge communication more easily. Your forgiveness is rooted in obedience to forgive as God has forgiven you and not on their level of repentance. The Lord wants us to battle (not each other), but against the difficulties that hide in the tough spots. With the Lord all things are possible, even the tough conversations between married couples.
Note of warning: Don’t confront your spouse without knowing what you’ll do when you get his/her response to the situation – or without knowing how to forgive yourself if you’re the one that is wrong.