Our spouse can kill us with words.
I’m done, I never loved you. Why can’t you do things right? We can’t keep doing this. You disgust me? I hate you, I’ve never loved you. Words reveal what the person’s heart beats for and what dominates them. Marriages have the potential to be one of the clearest depictions of what God’s love looks like. This is why marriages are under constant attack. To find fulfillment and bring honor to God there are three things to eliminate from your marriages. Most difficulties can be traced back to pride, hidden expectations, and (self-centeredness) a lack of empathic listening (Burley-Allen, 1995).
When you have pride in anything other than the Lord it fosters self-destructive behaviors. Abuse, adultery, lies, and falling out of love can potentially be traced back to an unhealthy lack of personal sacrifice (Kelly, 1997).
Solution: Put others first. You are not the subject matter of your world, others are.
Expectations can be a secret killer. Each person has internal expectations and filters that determine the way they perceive and internalize their reality. Without deep self-evaluation, honesty, and a desire to have true intimacy a person will unconsciously allow these expectations to infect their marriage (Burley-Allen, 1995).
Solution: communicate, communicate, communicate. Take the time to make sure that you are understood and understand. People are more loving and patient when they understand what is expected.
SELF-CENTEREDNESS – LACK OF EMPATHIC LISTENING
The lack of empathic listening in relationships causes people to feel unheard, misunderstood, and isolated. Eventually people will stop attempting to communicate their thoughts and feelings if they aren’t listened to. When empathic listening is not present individuals lack the ability to empathize and extend grace, a key element of representing God through our actions.
Solution: Make your goal to serve their needs rather than your own. Find out what they want, need, and expect and do it.
When individuals are planning to be married, newly married, or been married for decades there is always room to let go of pride, continually assess for hidden expectations, and learn to become more empathic. These are not just healthy practices; they are opportunities for God’s character through Jesus Christ to be revealed in and through us. Taking the time to walk through these pitfalls could be the difference in healthy relational development and divorce.
For help or more on thriving marriages contact Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill: A self-teaching guide (2 ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kelly, Jr., E. W. (1997, May / June). Relationship-centered counseling: A humanistic model of integration. Journal of Counseling and Development: JCD, 75.5, 337-345. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/219031948?accountid=12085