Sunday, September 23, 2012

To reduce pressure in your marriage

Remember back when I wrote about how my marriage used to be like a pressure cooker, and that maybe yours is to? Remember how I told you I would post the very next day about what you can do if you find yourself in a pressure cooker marriage to reduce that pressure? Well, the best laid plans and all.

Anyway, here I find myself finally with some time while Libby does a little extra reading on her own. The dishwasher is running, as are the washing machine and dryer. And so my thoughts turn to pressure cooker marriages.

If you have read through my pressure cooker post and find that perhaps your marriage is similar to what I described, don't lose heart. There are some steps that you can take to reduce that pressure and to bring more peace and love to your marriage.

The first thing you need to do is stop and pray. Make the choice to commit your marriage to God for Him to fix, and follow through on what He tells you to do. If you really want to fix it, if you really acknowledge that both you and your spouse have issues to deal with, God will lead and guide you to a better marriage.

The second thing you need to do is sit down and have a real, honest conversation with your spouse. Go on a date, or have someone watch the kids so you can have some alone time at home if you don't want to have the discussion in public. This is crucial. If both you and your spouse can acknowledge a problem and agree to work to fix it, your work will be much easier. If you try to have this conversation and your spouse blows you off and doesn't agree that there are issues that need to be worked on, you can still do this.

The pressure tends to build up in a marriage when a couple has a hard time addressing and working through conflict. I know this was definitely the case in my marriage. I wrote a post a while back on dealing with conflict appropriately. Basically, if you are in any kind of relationship (whether with a friend or child or spouse), you will experience conflict. Learning how to work through it greatly improves your relationship and works wonders towards bringing you and that person closer together instead of farther apart. Learn some tools and utilize them.

Sometimes the pressure builds when wives feel unloved and/or husbands feel disrespected. Ladies, lets face it. With how we use our words we have the power to either destroy our husbands or make them walk on air. Your husband speaks the language of respect. It's how God made them. When you speak in a way that makes your husband feel respected (the Bible says, basically, whether they deserve it or not; don't worry, it says the same about you), it will speak volumes into his man-heart and will also do a lot towards reducing the pressure in your marriage. And after a while (this is particularly for the wife whose husband does not agree to work on the pressure-issue with her), if your husband really feels like you respect him he will work harder to make you feel loved. Be intentional with this.

And finally, throughout the course of an argument or just any random conversation, your spouse may say something that hurts you. I am a feeler, so I really have to work hard at how I respond when my spouse has said something that hurt my feelings. This is another thing that can potentially build or reduce pressure. If you react defensively and lash out at your spouse for what they said, this will only continue you around and around in that pressure cooker while the pressure builds. If you react with grace, you can diffuse the situation and let out some of the pressure.

Through all of these things, the main point is that you have to be intentional in your marriage, FOR your marriage. Take steps toward your spouse with loving words and genuine care. Like the old saying goes, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Make the choice to stop adding to the heat in your pressure cooker marriage by addressing conflict in a constructive way when it arises, treat your spouse in a loving and respectful way, and offer your spouse grace.  Pray over your marriage, over your relationship, and commit to doing YOUR part in changing for the better. I would never deceive you by saying it is easy. I have done the hard work. I continue to do the hard work. And I am reaping the benefits of cultivating the soil of my marriage. I encourage you to as well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On where I've been

So, yeah, it's been a while since I last posted, but SO much has happened in the time I have been away. I thought I would give you a little update with pictures on what all has been going on in the life of my little family.

First, my Hudson had his medical procedure, which could not have gone any better. He was so brave, SO brave, and as he always does he stole the hearts of everyone who treated him.  

The very next day my kids and I went with my mother and extended family to the beach for a week. Unfortunately, Scott couldn't go because it was the first week of school and there was no way he could take the time off. 

We had a great time, making memories together with our large extended family (we saw a shark in the ocean where we had just been swimming!), but we missed Daddy and were glad to get back home to him.

First grade is fully underway for Libby, and Hudson and Remi are also very interested in having their own chances to learn. Libby continues to amaze me with her ability and her desire to learn. I love watching things click in her brain, and am so glad that I get to be the one to see it. She LOVES science and exploring.

We have also just been living life, enjoying what remains of the warm weather. Libby is in soccer, so there are lots of practices and games, and there is always room for ice cream :)

My canner and stovetop have also kept me very busy, as I preserve the last offerings of my garden. I am so pleased with what I have on my shelves from this year's growing season. We have a ton of pickles, lots of green beans, and tomatoes for making into sauce or soups. I plan on working on applesauce next. I need a bigger stovetop!

Remi is still having the issue with her thumb. I took her on a 4 hour trip the other day to see one of the best orthopedic hand surgeons in the country, and he confirmed a diagnosis of trigger thumb. She will need surgery to release the tendon in her thumb that is affected. I hate the idea of putting yet another of my children under anesthesia, but I have grown quite trusting of our Children's Hospitals.

In all, we have been so very busy. And as we have been drawn in all different directions, my husband and I have been more intentional in spending spare minutes together. In the evenings when I would otherwise have been writing blog posts, I have instead been investing in moments with him. We have also been getting up earlier in the mornings to do a devotional book together. My marriage is my most important ministry, with my children coming next.

I really do apologize that that means I haven't posted on here as much. My heart is still for encouraging you in your marriages and as women and mothers. As I get back in the swing of things, if there are any topics or issues that you are interested in hearing about, please let me know. I most certainly am not an expert, but I can speak from my experience and find out about anything I have not personally experienced.

If you have made it this far, thank you :)  Until next time, have a great day!