Working on a Dream




Monday, February 11, 2013

How not to Punch your spouse in the Face "Saving your Marriage, pt. 4"

He hurt you.
You hurt him back
... Let the ugliness begin continue.

Getting along can be tough.  In all actuality, it can be downright impossible at times.
I know some marriages resemble the War of the Roses, while some others sound more like the song, Bed of Roses.  Why do couples resort to such extreme measures when trying to solve marital issues? If you are reading this and have tied the knot, then you do not have the option to cold-shoulder your spouse till' death. Likewise, going round to round in a slug-fest like Mike Tyson's Punch-Out isn't a great idea either. If you have not already noticed, turning into an ice-berg on your mate is not that effective nor is transforming into a mixed martial artist about to enter a cage match.  Both are ugly extremes that will not work in saving your marriage.  So go ahead do me (and your spouse) a favor; take off your gloves and go sit by the fire place while I give you a better method that will save your marriage.

The method is a simple procedure called "the 7 A's."  I discovered the 7 A's years ago in a seminar dealing with church conflict and they have stood the test of time.  The 7 A's are simple guide that will help you get over any barrier that stands in your way to healing a relationship.  The 7 A's can apply to any universal conflict, but since I have been writing on marriage a lot lately, I have decided to apply them to the home. The reason is I have noticed how many of you want a great marriage, but just do not know how to have one.  So today, I am writing part 4 of my series title, "Saving your Marriage."

The first A stands for Address.  When there is a breach in a relationship, you feel hurt.  And when most of us feel hurt -we tend to recluse.  We talk to everyone about the situation except for the person or group that has offended us.  This is why the very first step is to go the person face to face. 
Fast Fact: Did you know that Jesus Himself prescribed this method in the Gospel of Matthew?  "If your brother offends you go to him in private ..."

A number two is Avoid.  As in avoid excuses.  If you are wrong then you are wrong. Words like: if, but, or maybe are all ways to soften the situation.  There is something about being totally honest and telling the person that you are sorry and you need their forgiveness. 

Number three A is Admit. You have to be specific.  This one is especially important for the ladies.  I have noticed that I have to be VERY specific when dealing with Christen.  She doesn't want to hear my fancy vague words, rather she wants to hear that I am really sorry for something specific that I did to hurt her.

Next A is Apologize.  More than just acknowledging the wrong,  you have to go a step further and show sorrow.  If you offended your spouse, then you should take steps to make things right.

Number five A is Accept.  Even after you admit & apologize, you have to accept responsibility.  There are often consequences to your words and actions (or non-actions).  The pain you caused is similar to a rock in water that sends a ripple effect to all the edges of the lake. You cannot reverse what happened, so you must be willing to reap what you have sowed

Alter is the next A. If you are truly repentant and genuinely care about your spouse, then it is time for you to alter your behaviour.  Many will read this and think that I am advocating a sheep-ish approach and I know that Mr. Macho isn't going to change for anyone ... but like I tell people in marriage counsel, "YOU CAN EITHER BE RIGHT or YOU CAN BE HAPPY."  Time to get over yourself. A marriage is a joint effort and both of you should be bending and giving and taking and working and ... you get my point.  Bottom line, if your spouse is not acting irrational or outlandish, then you should at least start to shrink the behaviour that causes so much disruption.

Finally, we have the last A, Ask.  Asking for forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do. The final A will take humility on your part.  But I must ask, "What is the alternative?" Who wants to live in a house that really is a prison with pretty wallpaper and fancy decorations?  I know that I don't.  And I'm guessing you don't either.

Picture of the Year!
Anthony & Christen right in the middle of Time Square
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
-Mignon McLaughlin

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