Thursday, August 12, 2010

Withdrawal and Avoidance in Marriage

(Continuation of Last Week's Post) Q. I saw last week's article on escalation. My wife and I really struggle with escalation in our marriage and want to work on making our marriage stronger. You mentioned there were more patterns to avoid in your marriage. Can you explain those?

A. To continue our discussion of the four patterns in marriage to avoid, we will talk today about withdrawing and avoiding. This can be as simple as walking away or no longer playing an active part in the discussion to simply avoiding any opportunity for a topic to arise. Both of these actions are incredibly harmful to a marriage. Both also happen to be the same negative pattern but with different ways of showing it. Ultimately, if you are withdrawing from conflicts or avoiding them all together, you are stiffing communication in your marriage. You have stopped being open and honest about what you are feeling and are no longer sharing what is truthfully going on with you. Resentment begins to build in a marriage at this point and begins to erode positive feelings about one another.

So how do you avoid avoiding? That is a great question with an answer that is grounded in scripture. Ephesians 4:25-27 says, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger, do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." This directly addresses the need to be open and honest with one another. You would never want to allow your anger and resentment to grow and cause it to harm your marriage. It is more important to deal directly with the issue at hand.

All spouses must remember that your actions are not independent. Every decision you make directly affects your spouse. When you came together in the covenant of marriage, you vowed to work together and became one. For this reason, you must realize that you are not independent. If you find that you are not able to handle an issue on your own, seek out a trusted friend, mentor, or contact us for counseling. Never let an issue go on too long before seeking help. As a counselor, my number one warning for those seeking marriage counseling is, "Don't wait until a great deal of resentment is present to seek help."

All information take from: "A Lasting Promise" by Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathen, Savanna McCain, and Milt Bryan

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