Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What Makes Marriage Difficult?

Marriage becomes difficult when unresolved conflicts linger for days. A good marriage will have conflicts but what becomes unhealthy is when those conflicts never get resolved and then those same issues keep becoming the same point of contention.

Unresolved conflicts hinder intimacy (emotional and sexual) and often give way for a door of temptations to open. Unresolved conflicts often lead to one or both of the partners to develop passive aggressive styles of relating that are cloaked in manipulation and control. Bitterness will be rooted.

It's important for both a husband and a wife to learn how to make the issue the issue and not the spouse the issue. When a spouse becomes the issue rather than the issue anger, contention and criticism become other operative modes rather than grace, kindness, acceptance and love as seen recently in the case of Jon and Kate.

Sometimes, all that's necessary to resolve a conflict is to learn to listen. Most of the conflicts that Michael and I have had were because neither of us listened. We were quick to make a judgement, take on a hurt and then attack back or shut down and retreat and sulk.

Listening is a skill to be learned and held like a precious gift. And in marriage or any relationship it only takes one person to get the listening process going. May that be you - today.

True listening – has to do with hearing not only the words, but the heart of the words. At the core, listening is seeking to understand rather than be understood. That takes work. It requires that we let go of being right and it requires that we put a pause on all racing thoughts of what to say next or how to defend our position.

Listening - good active listening takes work. It takes hard work. Part of the hard work is about choosing to listen even if he doesn't. It's listening to his voice, his words, his hear and the language he uses.

Listening isn't about agreeing and often we confuse it as that. Listening is about understanding.
I heard a quote recently, "There is not greater lie than a truth misunderstood."

Men speak a different language than women. They are typically linear in thought processes while we as women are integrated which means that we generally integrate feelings and facts at the same time. Everything is connected to everything else.

Men generally have to process facts before facing feelings and women generally – have to process feelings before they can face facts.

Listening is not only a marital bomb de-fuser – but it is a tool for intimacy. A good friend is one who listens and I read once that the basic ingredients for a good marriage – which has sweet intimacy – is friendship plus sex.

Components of intimacy include closeness, bonding, warmth and affection, openness and honesty. If good listening skills aren’t learned and practiced then intimacy has a weak platform on which to develop and thrive.

When listening – avoid mind-reading – don’t assume you know what your husband is thinking or feeling. He’s the author of what he’s saying.

So, go - look your man in the eyes and listen to his heart - not necessarily his words.

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Donna said...

Thank you so much Lylah, your words are a blessing to me today! I am fast approaching 13 years with my husband and we could definitely use some help in this area! Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. Thank you for these words-they speak volumes.


brooke said...

Good words I needed to hear. Thanks!

Mrs. C said...

What wonderful advice this is! I am a new wife and I appreciate this post so much, it was very insightful and really blessed me! I'm also a new follower too! :)

Lylah Ledner said...

Hello Mrs. delighted that I could serve :-)