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Sustaining Love and Putting out fires in Relationships Октябрь 28, 2010

Posted by Herbert Mtowo in Today's Devotional.
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Marriage provides humans a context in which to closely live, love, and collide. Marital disagreements, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation of meaning are often the source of much unwanted conflict. How can you sustain love and put out fires before they escalate into an unending feud?

Fighting is not fun. For sure, making love and not war is by far more rewarding and fulfilling.

Here are 12 irrefutable tips to sustain love, conquer conflict, and overcome being overwhelmed.

1.Keep your cool. Don’t react and explode. Though the heat of the moment makes your temper burn and bolsters your hostility and willingness to explode, harness your emotions and hold back from doing so. You will be glad you did.

2. Get alone for a while. When you get alone with yourself, it allows you to see and fully evaluate what it is about the interaction and situation that bothers you the most. Upon assessing the source of your displeasure, what pushed you over the edge, and why you feel the way you do — you will be able to accurately and honestly deal first with yourself before verbally engaging your spouse.

Sometimes we have unfinished business related to our own personal insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, and past failures that surface in situations. If we are not careful, self-protective feelings of hatred that arise can be projected outwardly on those closest to us as we play the blame game. The truth however is that only you can process your personal pain and work through your unfinished business.

Knee-jerk reactions and situational interactions that trigger previous painful life experiences do not need to paint the present canvass of your life. Recognize them for what they are, but refuse to allow them to have any bearing on your present.

3. Formulate what you want to say privately, before speaking prematurely and presumptuously. Speaking hastily can be horrific and heinous. Be careful to hold your tongue before you have thought things through and assessed the consequences of your communication. You don’t want to drive your spouse from you. You want to draw your spouse to you.

4. Let go of the fight to be right. Earnestly work toward doing and saying that which is best for the marriage. Uphold your marriage over that which is best for the individual. When your marriage wins, you both individually win. When however sides are taken and individuals battle for their own agenda, the marriage and ultimately both individuals inseparably suffer.

5. Listen before you speak. As you listen you gather more information. Listening further enables you to realize where you inaccurately sized up the situation and maybe even read it wrongly. What appears to be going on based on what we see, is not always the full reality. We must remember we never know the inner reality of a person until we quietly and genuinely listen to them reveal such wholeheartedly.

When you listen you learn. Those who don’t listen judge and scorn. Self-absorbed and self-righteous scorners rarely win friends and influence people. As you listen you connect and build a bridge to later communicate your own thoughts and feelings. Listening is loving. Do so and you will be loved later in like manner.

6. Hear from the heart and listen attentively. Many listen with their ears, but not their heart. Listen with your heart. Focus on your spouse when they are talking. Get fully centered and attentively listen to what they are saying. Show affirming signs that you hear them such as nodding your head and leaning forward.

Avoid annoying behavior that would indicate you are not listening such as sighing deeply with frustration, rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, and tilting your head to the side in disgust. Listening is loving when it is done wholeheartedly and non-verbally. As you give of yourself to listen, allowing your spouse to be heard, you surely will reap such in return when you want to be heard.

7. Empathize with feelings. Feelings arise from our perception of ourselves and others. Sometimes such feelings have no basis in truth outwardly. Yet our internal world remains a reality. Feelings are intangible and cannot always be explained. How feelings originate, fluctuate, and deviate is not fully known. What is known however is that they are very real. Our life experience has much to do with the feelings we have throughout the journey.

Therefore it behooves us relationally to acknowledge, esteem, and honor others feelings. Regardless of our inability to understand and manage the feelings of others, we at least should respect and empathize with them. Undoubtedly we all have feelings that fluctuate at random according the various stimuli that affect them. Let us therefore embrace everyone and wholeheartedly honor their feelings despite our lack of understanding.

You can begin to empathize first with your own feelings by being less judgmental and hard on yourself. In a day and age in which people are often known by their performance, occupation, and income potential we must be careful to honor the human being not only the human doing. The sanctity of life must again return to our hearts whereby we can embrace people lovingly and empathize with their feelings patiently.

8. Seek to understand and be understood. The beauty of letting go of the fight to be right is it allows you to be vulnerable and transparent before one another. In so doing you can express your feelings, your recollection of the experience, how you processed the situation, and what it meant to you. Meaning differs for all of us.

Each of us see and hear things from differing views based on our upbringing, background, and limited life experience. As spectators at a sporting event who all sit in different places throughout a stadium, we all take in different stimuli from an interaction and situation. What one person may see and experience another may not. Neither are right or wrong necessarily. In fact if anything both are right as it pertains to them individually.

Disagreements arise when we try to categorize and make conclusions for matters that we have not sought the input of others concerning. Under such circumstances, disagreements can be very enlightening and empowering if we will listen and seek to gain understanding.

9. Acknowledge and take responsibility for any wrongdoing on your part. The one thing that often continually hinders reconciliation and conflict resolution is the tendency of individuals to be self-righteous and self-absorbed. Self often erects walls behind which to hide. It is when we go into hiding that we neglect and refuse to acknowledge our contributory negligence to incidents occurring in our lives.

If we are ever to build bridges relationally and reconcile wholeheartedly, we must acknowledge things we have said or done that alienated those whom we love. Sadly sometimes those we love the most we treat the worst. Unfortunately it seems familiarity breads contempt.

Don’t take people for granted — especially not your spouse. Our generation is prone to divorce and break covenant. Therefore be alert and vigilant to show appreciation to your spouse. Where you have spoken harshly or acted inappropriately be accountable and acknowledge your unkind words and insensitive behavior. Let us not be malicious nor malign our marriages by reason of our callous hearts. Seek to be tender hearted and scrutinize your own words and actions that hinder your marital happiness. Confess your wrong doing and reckless words that destroy rather than build your marriage. Confession is cleansing and healing to the soul. Acknowledge your shortcomings and unkindness, taking full responsibility.

10. Ask for forgiveness and commit to try to do better. Once you have seen and acknowledged your wrongdoing, be quick to seek forgiveness. Humbly ask your spouse to forgive and release you from your past insensitivities. Whether or not they do so is up to them. You however are a free from any guilt once you have acknowledged and confessed your wrongdoing. Thereafter commit to try to do better. Patiently possess your soul and harness your will-power to do the right thing.

11. Be patient allowing for personal growth. Remain detached from the initial outcome to the argument or disagreement, realizing that people do change over time as they become increasingly self-aware and grow in wisdom by reason of experience. We are all creatures of habit. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Yet even the oldest dog can be retrained if he or she experiences enough pain by reason of punishment for inappropriate behavior.

I’m not saying you should treat or punish your spouse like a dog. However it must be acknowledged the relational strife and turmoil is quite painful. Pain is not something we gravitate to as people. As you work through your disagreements, resolve your conflicts, and seek to work together in a more agreeable fashion new behaviors and trends pertaining to how you relate and interact with one another will gradually naturally occur. Therefore be patient with one another realizing that people do grow, evolve, and change where given time and space to do so

Pray asking the Creator to intervene in your lives to show you the hidden areas of the heart that need to be brought to the light. Ask God to orchestrate situational circumstances to purge and purify impurities within that distort and diminish your loving relationship. As this process is sought and waited for, be merciful and gracious allowing for personal growth regardless of how long it may take to occur.

12. Love unconditionally. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not seek its own. You get what you give. Love is godly and gives. As you give love wholeheartedly and unconditionally, you will bring heaven to earth and show your spouse the depth of your commitment.

Unconditional love provides a place of emotional safety in a relationship wherewith personal improvement and development can be sought joyfully. Unconditional love enables us to love people as they are, while giving them time and space to become their personal best. This kind of love does not push, but rather pulls people into their destiny by the chords of loving-kindness and divine grace. Such a love provides one’s soul a safe place and gives them strength to face their darker side and tendencies.

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