There is something in us that runs from emotional difficulty. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a tendency to either personally ignore, or privately fix brokenness in my own life. In the past, I have resisted against the conversations needed to remedy and heal, and attempted to personally get over the issue myself… while neglecting to resolve the issue with my wife. Healing an issue between two people, by yourself, doesn’t really work. Men, if we want to be leaders and someone that our wives’ can look to with honor, respect, and admiration, then we must be willing to lead in difficult conversations and emotional unrest to pursue peace and healing in place of hurt and brokenness.
Below are 3 perspectives that I have learned and found helpful when it comes to healing hurts in my own marriage.
1. Have The Conversation – Waiting Worsens The Issue
It was the first year in our marriage. We were living in LA at the time, and both Audrey and I worked separate jobs with completely opposite schedules. We didn’t see each other too much so when we did it was cherished time. But there was this one week where something happened, we got into a fight about something (neither of us remembers what it was) and something was just off afterwards. We went an entire week and barely spoke to one another. We let bitterness and pride keep us from reconciling. It was a horrible feeling, but I ignored it and just let it build, hoping that one day we would wake up and all would be okay – like it never happened. Looking back now, I acted like a coward. I didn’t want to address the emotional unrest we were having so I ignored it and just let us grow further and further apart.
It’s in my nature to just ignore issues and let them slide under the rug hoping they will blow over on their own. I have to fight against this natural inclination in my own marriage. Maybe you do too? But as men striving to be the Godly leaders of our families, we must be quick to turn around if we are headed down the wrong road. We can’t afford to make to make a wrong turn and just pretend it never happened. We will end up someone we never intended to be.
Likewise, if we are quick to address serious health issues, we minimize the severity of those issues having long-term negative ramifications. We can’t just mask serious health issues with the “time will heal” mentality. We must be willing to seek health and renewal through the necessary remedies. It’s the same with procrastinating or ignoring emotional hurt and brokenness in our marriages. The quicker we face it the less severe the consequences.
In marriage, we need to be vulnerable in order be loved and to love well. If we aren’t willing to do the hard work of healing hurt and brokenness, over time we will avoid vulnerability altogether, in an effort to protect our hearts from more hurt and brokenness… not good. But the man (or women) that is willing to pursue reconciliation with urgency, prioritizes his/her marriage. Be the first to initiate reconciliation and healing in your relationship. It demonstrates to your spouse that you love and care about him/her, and it breaks the bondage of bitterness and pride.
Don’t do what I did… Don’t let a week of emotional unrest and hurt go by because you’re too lazy to have a hard conversation. Looking back on our week of detached avoidance, I would trade an hour of hard conversation in a heartbeat for a week of laughter and joy with my wife.
Ask yourself this question, “If my goal is a joy-filled, loving, and better than average marriage, will ignoring the issue get me closer, or further away?”
2. Pursue Humility – Pride Will Steal Kill And Destroy Every Time
“Humility feels like fire, but heals like water.” – Dale Partrige
Pride says that “I” am most important, Humility says that others are more important. There is no greater love than sacrifice – and you can’t sacrifice with a heart of pride.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
When we let pride win, our relationship will fail. Often I find myself actively burying my wrongdoings because I am too prideful to admit them. Just last week a mentor of mine pointed out how I was treating my wife when I hung around a specific person. My pride wanted to hear what he was saying, agree, and secretly work on it… but wisdom told me something different (Proverbs 11:2). This is an opportunity to practice humility and apologize to Audrey – which I did, and we grew in closeness and oneness because of it. When we hide our faults we are robbing ourselves from closeness with our spouse. Pride is a wedge that will always be actively driving you and your spouse apart. Don’t let that wedge get too big or the cracks will become chasms.
Pride is a disease, and we are all infected. Pride is the enemy of love. When we are facing an issue with our spouse that may have caused hurt or brokenness, we must have humility in order to reconcile the issue. Humility is the acknowledgment that we are not as important, or right, or holy, or magnificent than we may sometimes believe. Humility says that I care more about US than ME. Pursue humility when addressing the issue at hand, and fight against pride like it’s cancer.
Ask yourself this question, “If my goal is a joy-filled, loving, and better than average marriage, is my pride worth it?”
3. You Have A Choice – Choose patience, self-control, and wisdom
A good friend of mine recently told me, “Remember, you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.
When facing difficulties, disagreements, and disunion in our marriages, we can choose humility, patience, self-control, and wisdom, or we can become prideful, quick-tempered, react emotionally, and ignore what we know is right.
When there is unrest, or hurt between you and your spouse you have the ability to choose how to respond – even if it doesn’t feel like it. Patience, self-control, and wisdom is available to you, you just have to be willing to choose these character traits amidst animosity. Jesus told us that it is actually better that He leaves, so that the Helper may come. As believers and apprentices of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. Every power that Jesus had, we have. Just as Jesus demonstrated for us, we too have the power to choose, humility, patience, self-control and wisdom even in the face of opposition. These traits will allow us to rebound from hurt, reconcile animosity, and prevent disagreements from developing into fights.
Choosing these traits when we are in the heat of the moment with our spouse, can be very difficult. I presume it will take a lifetime to master, but that should not dimish the value of working towards these traits now. We cannot let our flesh react emotionally and neglect the healing process, hoping that the issue will “fix itself.” Choosing to procrastinate the reconciliation processes will only inflame the circumstances. When facing conflict, I encourage you to choose humility and in be quick to resolve and reconcile.
Ask yourself this question, “If my goal is a joy-filled, loving, and better than average marriage, how can I act and respond in every circumstance to achieve it?”
4. Weekly Check In’s – Navigator’s Council
There has been one tool that has revolutionized how Audrey and I seek healing in our marriage. Our Navigator’s Council. (AKA, consistent weekly “check-ins.”) Every Sunday night we do something we call our Navigator’s Council Journal. Put simply, we ask each other the same questions each week and record our answer in a journal. We adopted this practice of weekly questions from our pre-marital counselors who have been doing it for over 18 years! (with 4 kids) It has been paramount in our marriage for fostering healthy communication and healing hurts, and growing closer together. We use, love, and believe in this practice so much we designed and made a journal so that you and your spouse can connect, communicate, and grow in love through these 6 weekly questions also!
It is a tool that we sincerely believe in. It just works, and we invite you to give it a try! Here is the link to read more about it: NavigatorsCouncil.com On sale for a short while longer.
Hurt and brokenness can often go unaddressed. Waiting to heal the issue will only worsen it. Healing does not happen outside of humility. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose what happens through us and in us. Take heart! A healthy marriage is often on the other side of humility. Seek healing, even if it means having the hard conversations. Healthy communication is often something we have to work towards. We use our Navigator’s Council journal as a tool to help promote strong communication and deepen our love.
Under the mercy,