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. Jeez! 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 inevitably ensues.
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 that I did which were not profitable.
In fact, they actually made things worse!
They are glaringly apparent errors, and still, I continued to stumble over them.
This got me to thinking that if a person did the exact opposite of what I did, it would result in several amazingly effective ways to help them manage their pain.
Seriously, these are all very real emotions that I’ve struggled with when the emotional pain that followed conflict was off the charts. They are not fluffy concepts and ideas; they are real emotions and behaviors that are poison to a marriage and are to be avoided at all costs.
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, DO NOT react by saying hurtful things to your spouse (or hitting, biting, clawing, or throwing appliances . . . and definitely NO hot grits! Note: Tyler Perry movies are bad for your marriage :-)).
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 only influences your heart). Please believe in the effectiveness and power of prayer! I have often made things worse in a moment of panic by not taking time to pray.
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.
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. However, 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 emotional days – glad to hear it! But don’t be surprised if and when it happens because none of us are immune to them. And when they do come, kick despair to curb and keep it at bay with God’s word . . .
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10: 4-5)
3. Don’t Look Backward
God did not design us to look backward longingly.
Looking backward can intensify emotional pain, create a sense of discontentment, and encourage unforgiveness.
Once God has done a work of forgiveness in your heart – look forward and let the past go. The painful 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 is a bad fashion statement. :o)
“Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10)
4. Don’t Forecast Doom
Sometimes looking forward can be just as lethal as looking backward; that is, 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 chiefly because we’re not likely to project a rosy outcome for our marriage when we are 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 circumstance, 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 amazingly effective ways to help you 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 tips to add to this list? Post a comment below to share. I’d love to hear from you!