One author has described marriage as falling into one of the four seasons. The spring and summer season are those wonderful times when a couple communicates and connects. The sad reality is that most eventually drive into the fall or winter seasons that are filled with loneliness, frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment. Unfortunately for many couples they choose one of two options. They endure that winter or they leave the marriage hoping to find a more compatible spouse. This past Sunday I focused on a third option, returning to the spring and summer seasons by making your marriage a win-win.
Let me encourage you to check out the full message here. The primary reason that our marriages drift from Spring and Summer is because of unresolved conflict. We too often become combatants rather than teammates. It is worth noting that God never intended for us to be alone. “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”” (Genesis 2:18) God’s creation was not complete until he found a teammate for Adam. The term “helper” used here is not speaking of a servant. The emphasis is upon a complement, a companion and a teammate. God expected the first husband and wife to work together on raising a family, living life, worshipping and living in obedience, and in all areas of life. The sad reality is that most couples do not have the tools, or training to resolve conflict. The unresolved conflict becomes like a concrete block between them. The more areas of conflict the higher the wall becomes and the further they grow apart.
If you have some concrete blocks between you and your spouse, and who doesn’t, let me encourage you to put down your sword and begin to work on resolving the conflict. We must stop treating conflict resolution like we are trying to win a court case before a judge or jury. The problem in most marriages is that our goal is to win the argument and for our spouse to come to their senses. What really happens is that we just push then further apart. Consider that if you were to “win” the argument then that would mean your spouse loses. The opposite is true if they “win” and you lose. Yes, someone wins but the relationship is not strengthened. Now even if you come to a draw, that just means that both of you have lost. What needs to happen is to adopt the mindset of working out a Win-Win solution. This requires that you work together for the best solution for both of you. When that happens you are drawn closer together not pushed apart.
There is too much to be said in this limited space but let me leave you with a few general principles. First, learn to listen to your spouse. Most times our “listening” is just waiting to make our point. We really need to listen to them. It helps to repeat back to them what you are hearing. Second, we need to work to understand them. We need to put ourselves in their shoes. We need to tell them, “I can understand why you feel that way.” Third, we need to work towards a solution that is a win-win for both spouses. We need to commit the issue to prayer and consider all options. God will lead you to the best solution if you will work together. When we begin to listen, understand and work for a resolution that is when harmony begins to build in our relationship. This is when we stop the relational drift and move back into the Spring and Summer of our relationship. All it takes is a commitment to work on resolving conflict.