We're not guaranteed a lot in life, but one thing we know for sure is that we will have problems. (John 16:33)
Therefore, it's important to know that when those problems show up, there are right ways and there are wrong ways to handle them. The approach we choose will get us closer to a resolution, or it will get us farther from one, while also getting us farther apart from one another.
None of us want that! So....
Here are a few things you want to try to avoid when those pesky problems come up.
Don't ignore them! Much to your dismay, problems don't miraculously go away if you deny them. In fact, they can multiply. Denying problems forces you to continuously stay on alert by being ready to run again and again, because you know that they're always right behind you. That is exhausting work. Besides, let's be real, you're just not that naive. You may try, but you can't convince yourself there's not a problem when you know full well that there is. You can run, but the truth is, you really can't hide. Your problems will find you.
Don't minimize them! If you find yourself justifying or excusing away a problem, or a behavior of your spouse, and often say or think things like, "He's just tired and had a bad day", "She only drinks to relax", or "They didn't really mean that", then you are likely in the trap of minimizing. You're trying to tell yourself that the problem really isn't as big of a deal as you're making it out to be. In essence, you're believing that the problem really is you. You especially need to deal with it if your spouse has convinced you of that (that is an entirely different blog post). Nonetheless, minimization needs to be kicked out of your marriage.
Don't accept them! There is no need to accept problems in your marriage. We're all going to have them and there's no reason for just accepting them as the status quo. Tolerating problems and believing that change is impossible won't do anything other than postpone more pain. Giving up and settling for misery will never be a win for either of you. Eventually you will run out of tolerance and end up extremely bitter or extremely hopeless.
We don't want any of these things for your marriage, and you shouldn't either. There are healthy ways to deal with problems, and even if you don't know all of them yet, even an attempt to deal with them is better than any of the above.
Lastly, no matter what, when problems come your way, don't be riddled with fear. You can take heart and know that even when you aren't sure how to find the answers or solutions, God is. And, if you get lost along the way, we're here for you too!
Enjoy the Journey!
Chris & Jamie