Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Facing Problems Together

In case you haven’t noticed, life is full of problems. Maybe it doesn’t seem that way to you, but it sure seems that way to me. Every day has its own collection of problems which have to be dealt with, whether we want to or not. In fact, problems are so prevalent in our world, that I’ve only found one way to get away from them all… that’s to die.

The bigger problem isn’t the problem itself, but rather the problems that the problems can cause. I mean, the problems themselves are bad enough, but how we react to them can actually cause us more problems.

What’s our first reaction when a problem comes along? I don’t mean the little problems, we can usually handle those; no, I’m talking about the biggies. How do we react to those? For most of us, our reaction is to explode in some way or another; normally exploding at those who are closest to us. That can cause problems; especially when the person we’re exploding at is our wife. Ouch! A momentary stress-filled explosion, turns into a week of getting the cold shoulder.

I learned a number of years ago that the best thing I can do when those big problems come along is to shut my mouth and keep it shut. That way, I can’t say anything destructive. I don’t want to shut my mouth, but if I can succeed in doing so, then I can avoid saying anything destructive.

When I’m faced with problems, I need my wife’s support. If I can manage to keep my cool, then I usually have it. But, when I explode, I lose it. So, it’s really to my benefit to keep my mouth under control. I end up gaining more than I lose. My wife and I go through the problem together.

Here’s the really great part. Did you know that facing those problems together builds intimacy in your marriage? As crazy as that sounds it’s true. Let me take it out of the context of marriage for a moment. Soldiers who go to war together form extremely strong lifelong friendships. Even if they have nothing else in common, coming from different socio-economic, ethnic and cultural groups, they share the problem they’ve faced together. From then on, they’re friends for life.

That’s a key word, “together.” When we face problems together, it brings us closer together. We won’t see that in the midst of the problem, but we will see it afterwards. The simple fact that we’ve faced the giant together and defeated it together draws us closer.

Now, I’m sure you’re not anxious to look for problems to face together with your wife. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you do. What I am suggesting is that you take advantage of the problems which naturally come along. When they come, face them together, holding each other up. That simple act will strengthen your marriage, bringing you closer together, especially when you can share the fruit of your victory together.

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