There are constructive ways to deal with conflict and manage emotional pain as a wife, and then there are destructive ways. I’ve chosen the destructive path a time or two (or three!) as a wife, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a result, it’s that effective pain management is key to having a satisfying marriage.
Early on in my marriage I was given to occasional fits of rage. I hit (rarely, but still I did), I screamed (way too much), I threw house hold items. (Talk about tearing down your home with your own hands!)
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. (Proverbs 14:1)
These are horrible admissions! But I’m glad to say that since then I have learned better ways of dealing with conflict in my marriage and managing the pain that can ensue. It certainly wasn’t an over night process! But you know, after many years of allowing God’s word to wash over my life, it began to change me. And because it changed me, it began to change the outcomes of my marriage.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 2:12)
Looking back, when I consider the reasons why I sometimes unraveled as a wife – and mismanaged my pain immediately following conflict – I’ve been able to identify several key things I did that were not profitable. In fact, they actually made things worse! They are glaringly obvious, yet I still stumbled over them. Doing just the opposite would lead to amazingly effective ways to help you manage your pain when it begins to overwhelm you.
1. Don’t Panic!
Okay, something has happened that has caused you great emotional pain and has thrown you into a frenzy. Whether it’s a new (horrid) revelation, a verbal fight or even an old emotional wound that’s been reopened, DON’T react by saying hurtful things to your spouse (or hitting or throwing appliances).
Find a quiet place. Go to God in prayer. Cry out to Him. Tell him that you are hurting and that you feel crushed and (possibly) out of control. Your prayer is meaningful to God and really does influence the outcome (even if it’s only influences your heart). Please believe in the effectiveness and power of prayer! I have often made things worse in a moment of panic.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress. (Psalm 107:28)
2. Maintain Your Perspective
Emotional pain is notorious for ruining our perspective as wives. But those of us who have been married for some length of time can tell you that there have been days in our marriage when the sun shone brightly and we were head-over-heels in love, but there were also days when the sky was black and a dark cloud hung over our head. We have good marriage days and we have bad days. Today may be a dark day but the sun will shine again if you take these action steps.
(If you haven’t experienced these dark days yet – glad to hear it! But don’t be surprised if and when it happens. Just know it’s a phase in your marriage that’s meant to be worked through.)
3. Don’t Look Backward
God did not design us to look backward. Looking back intensifies pain which encourages unforgiveness. Once God has done a work of forgiveness in your heart, look forward and let the past go. The memories are toxic and will rot your heart. Don’t be like Lot’s wife who could’t let go of the past and turned into a pillar of salt! Salt doesn’t look good on you. :o)
4. Don’t Forecast Doom
Sometimes looking forward can be just as lethal as looking backwards; especially if we’re forecasting a negative outcome based on our present painful situation. In this instance, trying to figure out the future encourages worry and fear. This is because we’re not likely to project a rosy outcome for our marriage when we’re in pain. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that things will NOT get better. You may be thinking the worst about tomorrow based on your present emotions and circumstances, but Jesus counsels us not to worry . . .
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
So there you have it! Four glaringly obvious, yet amazingly effective ways to manage pain in your marriage, because sometimes, the most obvious things are the hardest to do.
What about you?
Do you have any other pain management pointers to add to this list, or are you effectively throwing VCR’s? Post a comment below to share.
I’ve shared this article at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.