I referred to my marriage as a pressure cooker, but I always fail. The very words "pressure cooker" have etched themselves so in to my mind that they almost seem synonymous with the state that my marriage was in at one point. Thankfully, miraculously, my marriage is no longer like a pressure cooker. But as I stand and watch the pot as it dangerously builds so much pressure that it is almost uncomfortable to watch and even the slightest misstep could make it explode, I think of you. I think of all the married people I know, and even the ones I don't, and I wonder. Is your marriage like a pressure cooker?
If you aren't sure the answer to that, it could be that the answer is "no." Or it could be that the answer is "yes" and you don't want to face it because facing it would mean that you have to make a choice on what to do about it. A pressure-cooker-marriage is one where the husband or wife consistently avoids dealing with any conflict, instead pushing it away by ignoring it or "moving on" without really moving on. It is where said unresolved conflict causes either the husband or wife to feel "on the edge" all of the time, leading the other spouse to feel like they are walking on eggshells. In this kind of marriage, little things could set a spouse off in a rant or silent treatment or argument that does more to add to the stress rather than diffuse it. A pressure-cooker-marriage is one that makes people think of the word "divorce" even though they swore they never would. This is a marriage that sits dangerously close to the edge of falling completely apart. This list is not all-inclusive and it is not exhaustive. Some of them may apply and not others, and there are more things that I did not add.
If any of these sound like your marriage, I really want to encourage you to make the choice to fix the problem rather than let it destroy you and your spouse. A pressure-cooker-marriage cannot stay in the same place. It either has to get better or it will explode. Just like you can build up pressure in your marriage over time, you can also let out pressure over time. Since you cannot control what your spouse does, I am encouraging YOU to take the first step. You might say, "But you don't know what my spouse does..." I know. I have heard many excuses and I have said many excuses. My marriage was like this. It took an affair and a separation for me to open my eyes. Let me encourage you to do something to reduce the pressure and increase the happiness in your marriage, even today.
I started to write out some ideas on how to reduce the pressure in your marriage, but this post would end up way too long, so I will leave that for tomorrow. I will leave you with this, though. If your marriage is like a pressure cooker, the best thing you can do is turn off the heat. Take a step towards your spouse with kind words and loving gestures. Without expectations. This will go a long way.