There are two things over the last three years that Paul and I have learned firsthand are the key to success in communication (and less fights) in our marriage. We can pretty much narrow down to these two things in any fight as the root of our frustration.
For Paul, it’s respect (or lack of). For me, it’s the need for security.
If you are married, engaged, or have ever been in any type of relationship with a person… perhaps you can connect on this. Most men’s greatest source of frustration in a relationship is feeling disrespected, and as it should be. Men have been placed as the head of the household, as leaders, and when we do anything but empower them… there’s bound to be frustration. As women, we flourish most when we feel secure, stable, provided for, and loved gently. When I don’t feel secure, be it finances, health, or relationally, I feel out of whack.
Knowing these two things about us, though, changes the way we approach confrontation. How can I respectfully tell Paul how I feel? How can I, while honoring who Paul is, tell him my frustrations. How can Paul come to me gently to correct me that doesn’t knock me off my feet, but rather stands me up a little straighter? How can Paul make me feel fought for?
When we don’t keep these things in mind is when our fights can go from 0 to 100 in .2 seconds. That’s when our tiny tiffs turn into yelling matches. We know just what to say to build each other up and just what to say to destroy, and it spirals fast.
Know your spouse. Know their strengths, know their weaknesses. Love what makes them thrive, and approach with compassion what you know hurts them the most. You can use this knowledge to either benefit or to hurt them more, so choose to not use it to harm. In anger, it’s so easy to poke and prod the things we know will cut the deepest. It’s instant icky satisfaction. But, know that in doing this it will cause long term damage that a quick, well-spoken confrontation wouldn’t.
So as we step into year 4 today (HOW?!?!), we named our past year as the year of stability. Which, in my need for security, has made year 3 not only my favorite year of marriage to date but one of my most favorite years of life to date. Funny how that works, huh? Year 1 was learning, year 2 was growth. And with year 3, the gears starting meshing together. We started moving as a unit together, career changes and moves helped us work together in a way the first two years just simply didn’t allow for.
I am ready to hit the ground running this year. I told Paul this morning, “Oh my gosh, year 4, we are entering into senior year!” 😉
Thanks for following along our life, our marriage, our joy and our struggles… everything. You guys truly are the best. I am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives through this internet thing.
How amazing is this leopard tunic from Landry Kate? They have just stocked up for Spring and you DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT.
Shop online or, if you’re local, stop by the store.
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah