Maybe it’s time to bear with each other!
And today, on Wifey Wednesday, guest poster Sarah Ball is going to do just that! Sarah writes the awesome blog Virtuous Woman Exposed, and she’s helping me today as I can’t write a post since I’m in an RV driving to Winnipeg!
What keeps you up at night? Well, besides bad Chinese food, a new season of Nashville, and sounds of your naughty garbage digging puppy dealing with the bad Chinese food. The one thing that keeps me tossing and turning at night are my kids–specifically their hearts.
My husband on the other hand, can saw logs faster than a caffeinated beaver, even after a stressful kid day. What keeps him up at night are our bills, rising gas prices and school fees.
If he shares these stresses with me, my response is usually “it will be fine it’s only money, it will all work out.” I rarely lose sleep over finances.
If I share my “they’re all going to need therapy!” woes with him, he gives me a less than concerned, “they’re fine, this is normal kid stuff.”
Often these sleep-robbing stresses will be our main points of arguments.
I need him to spend more quality time with his boys, and he needs me to stop ‘browsing’ Amazon. It can also be the root of our judgments and criticism towards one another. “Why are you always so hard on your son?” or “Do you seriously need another pair of shoes?”
The point is, sometimes our conflict is really about the burdens we feel and each carry, and our lack of empathy.
Burdens are those worries, and heavy feelings of responsibility that weigh us down. Usually a burden is met with intense anxiety, and a need to control the particular burden. Our greatest burdens are usually what we measure success and failure by. For example, if my children are happy and behaving well, then I feel amazing as a mother. If the bills are paid and there is enough money for brand named Kraft Dinner then my husband is strutting around like a Canadian Curling Club Champion.
Its okay for couples to have separate burdens. Not much would get accomplished as a family if both parents were rocking in the fetal position over a bad report card. However, our separate burdens in marriage can either drive us apart or bring us closer together.
So how do we allow burdens to strengthen our marriage and not divide it?
1. Understand which burdens your spouse carries the most. What do they complain about the most, what affects their self esteem the most? What do they criticize you about the most?
2. Acknowledge to your spouse that you know they carry the weight of this certain burden, and thank them for carrying it.
3. Ask what you can do to relieve the burden for them. God says we are to carry one another’s burdens and this includes our spouses. Take an interest in their burdens, by asking them how it’s going and if there is anything you can do to help alleviate it.
4. Don’t take their burden lightly. In the future, don’t say things like – “It’s not that big of a deal,” because it is to them. Just like your burdens are to you. Try to hear them out.
5. In conflict, try to recognize if it’s their burden that is igniting the fight, or even if it’s your own burden that has you on the attack. Recognizing that it’s the burden talking can help bring some perspective and empathy into the argument. “Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.” ~ Zig Ziglar
6. Pray for one another’s burdens. Pray for your spouse that they will have strength and wisdom over the heavy responsibilities they carry. Also pray that God would show you how to help.
A marriage that shares burdens together is a marriage that deepens and lasts.
Sarah Ball is the blogger behind Virtuous Woman Exposed, a columnist, freelance writer and mother of 5 children ages 4-15 and she’s exhausted just writing that. Her passion is to see women set free from shame, fear and bondage. She wants you to know that you can hold your head up high knowing they you are a precious daughter of God. You can visit her blog at http://www.virtuouswomanexposed.com and you can follow her on FACEBOOK & TWITTER
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