I have been looking at a lot of things lately. One of them is the blog written by Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs of Love and Respect. They had a post recently called “What’s the Alternative to Love and Respect?” (http://emersonandsarah.blogspot.com/2011/08/whats-alternative-to-love-and-respect.html) that struck home for me. I haven’t read their book yet (it’s on my list once I get through some others), so I don’t know the whole story of how their ministry started and how they reached the truths that they speak about. But I thought this topic was important.
In their post, they talk about how spouses need to speak with love and respect to each other and how even the simplest solutions sometimes can solve many problems. Too often, I think that when a couple is stressed with their partner, they don’t look beyond the surface issues. The example in the Eggerichs’ post is a couple sitting down to do their monthly budget, and thinking that if they solve their financial problems, it will take care of everything else. They say to themselves, “If we only had our money issues solved, I would be happier with him/her and our marriage would be back on track.” To them, that is the simple solution. They think the relationship will take care of itself. However, that is not the case.
I’m not an expert and I haven’t had a perfect marriage. We have gone through our rough times – times I never want to go through again. When faced with a difficult time, it’s often crossed our minds that if we had enough money, had a different job, had kids, lived closer to family, whatever, all of our problems would be solved. But then we look deeper. The problem isn’t that we had money problems or were stressed with our jobs, it was that we weren’t communicating the right way.
Communicating means more than just asking your partner how their day went. It means listening to what they are saying. Do you hear the hurt, the disgust, the yearning for someone to truly listen to them? Often what they are speaking isn’t anything like what they are saying. Are they telling you the whole story, or are they holding things back because they don’t want to burden/stress/bother you? Do they think you won’t be interested in what they have to say?
I have found myself on both sides of the coin. Neither side is fun, especially since it tends to affect my attitude for the next little bit. If only I took more care in communicating with my spouse, he would understand that I respect and honor him. Life and relationships are already hard enough in today’s society. While it’s not easy to always do the right thing, isn’t it the most important thing you can do?