You spent weeks, months, years of your life trying to get your spouse to see things your way. You've wrestled back and forth on that one concept that they just can't seem to grasp. That one problem within your relationship that just would not go away. You spent many nights crying yourself to sleep, tossing and turning, waking up in tears because neither one of you wanted to budge. You cannot even recall the number of times you called your friends or family to moan and groan about something they did, only to find out that they were calling their family and friends and now everyone was in your business. You almost lost your mind and half of your hair fooling around with their foolishness. And for what?
For that one moment in your relationship where a true change began to take place. The fighting stopped. The arguing stopped. The crying changed from sorrow to joy. It didn't even matter how it changed, you were grateful that it did. The rain that seemed to go on forever, finally stopped. The peace you were praying for was here. Now what? How do you like in peace when you've been living in turmoil for so long?
The steps are really simple, actually. Although, the actual work is not
1) Forgiveness has to be come second nature, especially to Christians. This is a part of the Christian faith that is taught to us from an early age. After the Rain, it will be very difficult to live in harmony with your spouse if you are still holding on to past sins. I've often heard that forgiveness is not for the other person, rather it is for you. Forgiveness means I accept that no one is perfect. I am willing to move past whatever differences we had and look towards our future. Forgiveness is intentional. It means I have changed my heart and my feelings towards you. If ever you find yourself wondering why a situation has not changed, look at the forgiveness factor.
2) Stop the Madness! This means you are to work on stopping the behaviors and thoughts that caused you harm in the past. If you are a wife who snoops, stop it. If you are a husband who has a 2nd cell phone, cut it off. If you are the girlfriend of a guy who has a wife, #SitDownSomewhere. You cannot expect to see results if you continue to do the same thing over and over again. It works the same way with your thoughts. You can't move forward, if your thought process keeps you in a negative space.
3) Love Hard! Love is what brought you together. Love needs to stay in the midst of every relationship. Make an effort to say "I love you" each day. Make the effort to turn off the television and just spend time gazing, talking, or holding each other. When you focus on loving someone, it leaves little time to hate them. Prioritize your love so that you can begin to build a stronger foundation for your marriage. Love like your life depends on it.
I have probably started this blog about 3-4 times already. My mind is filled with so many thoughts. There is so much that I want to say, but just don't know where to start. I want to help you, but I can't forget about your neighbor. Is enough ever really enough? So by the time I started this blog, it became clear that I am stressed.
Many of us get stressed on a daily basis. We work long hours, our pay isn't enough, and the kids keep calling our name. I told the supervisors at my job that I plan to take a personal day. Then i realized that even if I put work on the side for 24 hours, I will still find something else to take its place. Stress does kill and stress can affect your love. First of all, get your mind out of the gutter for a minute and focus on other areas of your life.
Stress affects your love in that it affects your ability to think clearly and be proactive. When you are stressed, you may tend to react to every thing and not allow yourself time to sit quietly, weigh your options, and then respond. Your impulsiveness increases and your ability to function "normally" decreases. It's like a fight or flight kind of mode. For example, Jerry works a really tough job. He often comes home tired and frustrated that his boss gives everyone praise and raises, except for him. This only adds to his stress level. Jerry is married to Tasha and they have 3 kids. Tasha is a receptionist at a local law firm and occasionally has to stay past 5:00 pm to prep for the next morning's meetings. Needless to say the two are stressed.
Jerry Jr. came home with his 1st F on his report card. Tasha's response was to yell at him. Which leads to Jerry wanting to spank and yell at him even more. Naturally this makes Jerry Jr. feel bad and affects his self-esteem which he internalizes and begins to act aggressively and on impulse. The stress that affected mom and dad are now affecting the children. Stress affects your love. When we are stressed about one thing, we can inadvertently become stressed about something else.
So how do we break the stress cycle and stop stress from affecting our love? Truth is, stress is going to happen. We are human. The key is to work at being aware of your stress, triggers, and warning signs. Be aware of the things or people that push your buttons and let the ones you love know about your stress and triggers. It is not so that they will know what buttons to push, but so they can hold you accountable when you start to act out of stress and not out of love.
Never be ashamed to ask for forgiveness when you act out of stress. Always be willing to humble yourself and learn from your mistakes. Wisdom comes by hearing, adhering, and doing. Jerry could have stopped Tasha from yelling at Jerry Jr., if we knew her warning signs. Likewise, Tasha could have corrected herself and prevented the argument by taking a breather, listening to Jerry Jr.'s explanation, and working together as a family to help Jerry Jr improve his grades, thus boosting his self-confidence.
It is amazing how 1 shift in the story can change the ending. Take time to reflect on the times you have lashed out at others. Look for key themes to help you identify triggers, warning signs, and ways to be proactive in the future. Stress affects our ability to reason logically, love, and forgive. Take back your life. Don't let stress affect your love.
Another Day's journey
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