After posting some thoughts on what kept our marriage strong, my wife Susan said there was another aspect which she had to constantly apply, these are her thoughts.

“Relationships with our spouse, parents, children, relatives, coworkers, and acquaintances are considered to be a positive, supportive and affirming experience.  Yet it seems that relationships are also opportunities for misunderstanding, hurt, and offence, all of which are an habitat for negative emotions, words and actions.”

“Sometimes I realized that I was reacting rather than responding.  The reactions always led to pain for myself, the relationship and others around me.”

“At times of disagreement, frustration or anger in our relationship I started to realize my comebacks and arguments were only an attempt to shut down Keith.  I began to question why I would do that to someone I actually liked, cared for and loved.  I began to realize I was only going to say something that I would regret later on and have to ask forgiveness for.  So I began to say nothing at these times because I didn’t know how to address the situation without making it worse.”

“Now I had another problem in that; the situation was not resolved (at least not for myself).  Therefore I went to the only one who I thought knew Keith the best, the Lord, his creator.  My first attempts of prayer were weak and more of a, “help me Lord, I don’t know what to do” crying session but the “Ever Faithful One” started to speak to me during those times.  Sometimes He would give me a question to ask, or to help me obtain understanding He would provide wording that was less harsh or aggressive.  Other times I would receive an insight into the emotions, circumstances or reasons why the situation became what it was.  Gaining empathy and insight provided an understanding and therefore the ability to agree with the topic I had not agreed with before.  Other times the Lord gave creative perspectives to address the situation which could further stimulate creative solutions.  As a result I had to be brave enough to go back and bring the subject up again with Keith but I found we had a better conversation with a result I was more at peace with.”

“My time with the Lord was never about how I was right or how I could get my way but it was about how can I have a difference of opinion without hurting Keith and how can I have peace in my heart about the topic we had discussed.”

“In the midst of reflection and prayer I started a pattern of becoming quiet and not speaking about the topic or circumstance for some time.  At times it was days until I felt I had some direction from God or an opportunity to bring it up again.  The response from Keith was that being quiet and walking away would not help anything – so I had to explain myself; how I needed time to pray so I could gain understanding, perspective, possible actions to the topic of conversation so I could respond rather than react to the discussion and subject of discomfort.”

“Once Keith understood the reason for my silence, it brought about an openness in both of us which allowed for hearty discussion and debate without hurtful words and actions.”

Scripture encourages us to seek understanding.  This understanding then enables us to overcome or cast down the false imaginations that negatively affect us. (Prov. 4:5; 2 Cor. 10:5)

“Perhaps there are areas where you need to go to the Lord with your  issue, wait and listen until He gives enough insight to go back to the discussion, not with a reaction but with a response to further discussion and a resolution.  What areas do you need to bring your thoughts, ideas and opinions to Christ for adjustment and replacement?”