When we are in a place of marital distress, there are several natural responses that may be working against us. One of those responses is to spend every waking (and every dreaming) moment trying to figure out how to improve our marriage. It is understandable. We are worried about our future, or very unhappy, or sick of our situation, and/or pretty darn angry.
What this response looks like is arguing with your spouse in your head, obsessing about how little your spouse has changed, thinking about how unhappy you are, critiquing your spouses every move, strategizing about how you can compel them to change, and many more possibilities.
My next blog will be for the “Avoider” of conflict, but this blog is for the “Pursuer”. The Pursuer is the one who normally tries to fix the relationship, the one who can talk about the marriage for hours on end, the wife who can list her husband’s faults in alphabetical order, for the husband who calls his wife 20 times a day. I think you know who you are.
Sometimes, our most natural and instinctual reactions are the ones most capable of hurting our spouse. They are also the ones we need to pay attention to the most. If you are the “Pursuer” in your relationship, but you don’t feel like your chasing is helping your relationship, I suggest the following beginning step: Think less about your spouse. Stop trying to change them. Spend more time and energy thinking about what you can do to be a better spouse. Find some ways to have more fun in your life. Go out with some friends. Take an art class. Join a Bible Study. Think about going after the goals and dreams that you are putting off until you feel better in your marriage. Give your spouse a little space. Back off a little bit, and who knows, maybe that space you create will be exactly what is needed.