Category: Conflict

Q&A: What should I do if my husband wants a divorce?

Question: We haven’t even been married 2 years yet and my husband is telling his friends he wants a divorce after every fight. Do you think he means it? What should I do?

Answer: Yes, the thought of divorce is in his mind. No one likes conflicts that end in ‘fights’ or ‘arguments’. When things don’t get resolved, we begin to think: “Oh no, I married the wrong person.” Then follows the thoughts of divorce. Of course, divorce is not the answer. The answer is in learning how to resolve conflicts. All couples have conflicts. Some couples learn how to listen with a view to understanding each other, then looking for a solution.

Other couples approach every conflict as an argument. They focus on winning the argument instead of solving the problem. In my book, Happily Ever After, I have a section on Solving Conflicts Without Arguing. I suggest you read it and discuss it together. If he is unwilling, then make an appointment with a counselor and invite him to go with you. If he refuses, then go alone. Bottom line? Don’t ignore the problem. Seek help.

Q&A: My fiancé and I argue daily. What should we do?

Question: My fiancé and I have been fighting almost daily about all sorts of things. The amount of arguing is beginning to worry me. Is this going to be a problem in our marriage?

Answer: Yes, if you don’t solve the issue now. Engagement should be a time to discover differences, and find solutions. All couples have conflicts, but arguing with raised voices and harsh words is not the way to solve conflicts. In my book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, I have a chapter entitled “I wish I’d known how to solve conflict without arguing.” I believe it is essential to a healthy marriage.

The key is learning to listen with empathy. Most of us have no training in how to listen. We listen only long enough to re-load our guns and shoot back with our ideas. Two people shooting each other with explosive words is a battlefield, not a marriage. Go for pre-marital counseling and put this issue on the table. Learn how to listen, how to respect each others’ ideas and how to find a meeting place. Don’t get married until you learn these skills.

Q&A: My fiancé and I argue daily. What should we do?

Question: My fiancé and I have been fighting almost daily about all sorts of things. The amount of arguing is beginning to worry me. Is this going to be a problem in our marriage?

Answer: Yes, if you don’t solve the issue now. Engagement should be a time to discover differences, and find solutions. All couples have conflicts, but arguing with raised voices and harsh words is not the way to solve conflicts. In my book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, I have a chapter entitled “I wish I’d known how to solve conflict without arguing.” I believe it is essential to a healthy marriage.

The key is learning to listen with empathy. Most of us have no training in how to listen. We listen only long enough to re-load our guns and shoot back with our ideas. Two people shooting each other with explosive words is a battlefield, not a marriage. Go for pre-marital counseling and put this issue on the table. Learn how to listen, how to respect each others’ ideas and how to find a meeting place. Don’t get married until you learn these skills.

Q&A: A Husband’s Comments About Other Women

Q: We are a newlywed couple. My husband jokes about good-looking women in front of me. I am offended. He says, “it doesn’t mean anything.” I’m having serious jealousy issues. What should I do?

Answer:  You may both be right. It may not ‘mean anything’ to him. But, you are hurt and jealous.  Those would be normal feelings. Many men make comments about ‘good looking women.’  When a man is single, these comments are most often made to other men. However, not many women want to hear such comments from their husbands. In fact, I don’t know any women that welcome such comments.

So, tell him that you find that offensive. Remind him that he is married, and that you are not ‘one of the boys.’ Give him a little slack. It takes a while to break old habits. But whatever you do, don’t accept these comments as appropriate. You are newly married and this is the time to ‘set the record straight’ that such comments are not acceptable. Also, be open to his requests for changes in your speech or behavior. This is a normal part of early marital adjustments.

Q&A: My husband comments about other women. Help!

Question: We are a newlywed couple. My husband jokes about good-looking women, in front of me. I am offended. He says, “it doesn’t mean anything.” I’m having serious jealousy issues.

Answer:  You may both be right. It may not ‘mean anything’ to him. But, you are hurt and jealous.  Those would be normal feelings. Many men make comments about ‘good looking women’.  When a man is single, these comments are most often made to other men. However, not many women want to hear such comments from their husbands. In fact, I don’t know any women that welcome such comments.

So, tell him that you find that offensive. Remind him that he is married, and that you are not ‘one of the boys’. Give him a little slack. It takes a while to break old habits. But whatever you do, don’t accept these comments as appropriate. You are newly married and this is the time to ‘set the record straight’ that such comments are not acceptable. Also, be open to his requests for changes in your speech or behavior. This is a normal part of early marital adjustments.

The Verbal Abuser

Most people who verbally abuse their spouse are saying more about their own needs that they are about their spouses character.

The verbal abuser has a deep need for self-worth. They are unconsciously seeking to elevate themselves by putting down the spouse. Of course, this is not an acceptable way to build one’s self-esteem.

The spouse who wants to have a positive influence will affirm the need, but reject the behavior.

By saying something like: “I know that you must be terribly frustrated to speak to me in that manner. I wish I could hear you and help, but I am so pained by the words that I cannot listen. If you could write me a note telling me what you feel and how strongly you feel it, maybe I could be there for you and could be the spouse you need.” This statement acknowledges the inner struggles of the abuser, but refuses to accept the destructive behavior. Friend, this is a step in the right direction.

Q&A: How do we prevent arguments during Christmas?

Question: How do you keep a marriage healthy during the Christmas Holidays? It seems like we have our biggest arguments around Christmas.

Answer: Many couples can identify with this question. Christmas can be a stressful time. The buying of gifts, decorating the house, cooking meals, and having extended family present, can all be very stressful. The problem is that we often get so busy with the details of life that we forget to touch each other emotionally. When we don’t feel loved and supported, the stress can bring out irritability and harsh words.

I’ve found that one of the best things you can do to keep your marriage healthy is for each of you to ask the other: “What can I do to help you?” Ask this question at least once a day between now and Christmas.

My second suggestion is to speak the words: “I love You.” at least once a day. That’s my formula for having a Merry Marital Christmas.

Q&A: How do we prevent arguments during Christmas?

Question: How do you keep a marriage healthy during the Christmas Holidays? It seems like we have our biggest arguments around Christmas.

Answer: Many couples can identify with this question. Christmas can be a stressful time. The buying of gifts, decorating the house, cooking meals, and having extended family present, can all be very stressful. The problem is that we often get so busy with the details of life that we forget to touch each other emotionally. When we don’t feel loved and supported, the stress can bring out irritability and harsh words.

I’ve found that one of the best things you can do to keep your marriage healthy is for each of you to ask the other: “What can I do to help you?” Ask this question at least once a day between now and Christmas.

My second suggestion is to speak the words: “I love You.” at least once a day. That’s my formula for having a Merry Marital Christmas.

Love Does Not Accept

If your spouse sins against you, it’s time to get angry! Even God gets angry when people sin. He reaches out in love to convict, discipline and correct. Should we do less? God’s purpose for anger is that it motivates us to lovingly confront. We dare not sit idly by and make no effort to help our spouse turn from sin.

When I say ‘lovingly confront,’ I’m not talking about yelling and screaming at your spouse. I’m suggesting you say something like this:  “I’m deeply hurt by your behavior. I’m concerned about you and about us. Please, can we talk about this?” If they are unwilling to talk, you pray and try again. Love does not accept sinful behavior.

 

Restraining Response

Uncontrolled anger can destroy your marriage! All of us get angry when we believe that we have been wronged. Feeling angry is not sinful, but how you respond may be. In Ephesians 4:26 we read: “Being angry, sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” We are responsible for controlling our behavior. The husband or wife who lashes out with harsh words is sinning.

The first step in learning to control your anger is to restrain your immediate response. Count to 100 before you do anything.  Take a walk around the block. Go water your flowers. Do something to stop the flow of hurtful words or abusive behavior. Take a ‘time out’ and you’re less likely to sin.

 

 

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