I just met with a young couple who, for something new and different, are very much in love and came seeking my help to solve a dilemma in their marriage. It was so refreshing to talk with them, because they weren’t accusing each other; neither of them had a burning need to be RIGHT; both are kind in their speech and manners.
The problem lies in their personality differences. He’s a slow processer. It takes him some time to figure things out, decide how he feels, what he thinks, what he’s willing to do. He’s a peacemaker, sometimes to his own detriment. We do teach people how to treat us. When we continually accept poor behavior, we’re teaching others that they can say or do anything they want and we’ll just take it. Not good.
She, on the other hand, is an instant responder. She operates from a set of very strong ideas of what’s right and what’s wrong; she doesn’t tolerate mistreatment with very much grace at all; and she wants him to defend her when the need arises. Instantly, mind you. No stopping to think.
So we talked it through; they each said what they needed to say. She felt he left her spinning in the wind. He felt she pushed him to do something he really didn’t want to do. This was a relatively easy session, and I was able to offer them suggestions that seemed to settle her down and brace him up. What were those suggestions?
1. It is his job to deal with his family members. It is up to him to support and encourage her, to protect her and defend her. He should address the situation, and I offered him some ways to do that without dragging him out of his comfort zone. Years ago, my pastor told me, “Linda, you can say almost anything you need to say as long as you do it with a smile. Kindness matters.”
2. She needs to love him enough to trust him to do what is best for her. That means she has complete freedom to tell him what she needs from him; she can express her strongest feelings to him, and she should. But then she needs to leave it in his hands.
3. He can tell her he needs to think about it for a day or two. He is not allowed to just forget it and let it slide. He should come back in a day or two and tell her what he thinks, and what he’s willing to do.
4. She, again, needs to love him enough to respect him and trust him to do the best thing.
5. They both need to forgive; each other, and those involved in the upset. She needs to forgive him for not defending her. He needs to forgive her for pushing him past his own desire to intervene. They both need to forgive the ones who helped create the problem.
And that was my first session today. Nice and easy.
Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend them.”