Managing Conflict In Marriage: Should You Speak Up Or Be Quiet?
People think that marriage is easy but you know what...it's not. Actually, it can be really difficult at times. For instance, my wife and I were on opposite ends of the fence about whether to take an extended vacation this year. Initially, I agreed and then changed my mind because I wanted to have it all. I wanted to forego our year end vacation and, instead, spend it with my wife, two girls, friends and family during the Christmas and New Years's Holiday break. My wife wasn't having it!
I have been working so many hours and family is #1 priority for me. So, I wasn't too keen on going out of the country and missing quality time with both girls and the family. Also, I am 30 days out from finishing the biggest project of my career (Fix My Marriage System: 7 Building Blocks to a Strong Godly Marriage) and have business partners relying on me. Going on vacation meant that I would have to do that work outside of my office. Third, we had some financial responsibilities sprung on us in the final hour (the joys of being an entrepreneur) and I wasn't too happy, to say the least. Those things being combined...I thought I had a winning argument.
Mecca reminded me that I always teach "other" couples that taking care of the marriage is the first priority of maintaining family. She reminded me of who takes care of home the most (clearly my wife) and who takes care of both of our girls, coordinates with both sets of grandparents, cooks, cleans, caters to me and is still an executive. So, basically, the MVP of our marriage was tired and needed the break.
Secondly, she reminded me of my "mad scientist" tendencies where I lose touch with reality when I am in creation and high stress mode. This is true!
Thirdly, she asked me to make a valid argument against why I couldn't bring a laptop to Punta Cana and do one day (that was the max) of work there.
Fourth, she reminded us that both of our girls love their grandparents (both sets), aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. and always have fun when we are gone.
The killer point was when she asked me if I cared enough for her to listen to her needs, dreams and desires. What self-respecting husband would say, "No"?
Obviously, Mecca won because we are clearly NOT in Atlanta, GA in this video but really... WE WON! Mecca was right. I needed this vacation like we need oxygen. Here are the benefits of me listening to my wife and agreeing to honor her dreams and invest in our marriage uninterrupted:
1) We escaped Atlanta when it was 20 degrees and landed in 82 degree weather with fresh fruit waiting on us.
2) Funny thing...there is wifi outside of the US and writing by the ocean is never a bad deal.
3) We talked about advantages and challenges in our marriage and agreed on adjustments. Yes, we will be going on vacation earlier next year lol. Mecca has already decided the destination. Where the heck is Phucket? I mean really but whatever.
4) We agreed on taking a family vacation too to appease my desire for more family time. Hello Jamaica! However, Mecca and both moms will have final say so on location. You understand how it goes.
5) We argued about something only married couples understand (nothing) and made up instantly. Why? It wasn't because I am a psychologist or Mecca is master negotiator. We had a round of golf in 15 minutes without another couple and didn't want to waste the money or waste their time. We were laughing on the second hole at how bad we (Okay, Mecca) were at golf. I actually hit some nice shots quiet is kept.
6) We honored how we started...just the two of us and enter the new year stronger, more connected and the MVP (Mecca Lebron Tartt lol) is rested and ready to rock.
7) We strengthened our bond with God by praying, studying scripture and fasting. It was a limited fast. We were on vacation! No sweets for a day is a HUGE deal (lol). Before the saints come get me.
8) We created a really NICE couples retreat that we will announce in the first quarter of 2018 that will really help couples. The blessing of being married and being a psychologist is that you get to experience what stresses marriages first hand and create solutions real time.
Anyway, we enjoyed vacation. We played golf together for the first time ever, ate well, slept by the ocean, exercised in luxury and enjoyed great company with another couple (shout out Abi and Lisa)! Now, back to the cold of Atlanta (boo). However, we come back more connected, stronger and rested so that we stand the test of time.
So, couples, have you planned your quality time yet? I suspect your spouse may forward this to you. Husbands, listen, and do the right thing. Wives, stay persistent and you'll eventually win. You can catch more bees with honey (stay sweet) but refuse to change how you feel if it is valid. Your husband loves you and will adjust...maybe with some resistance (like me) but he's a smart man. After all, he married YOU!
P.S.- Join my email list for information about the upcoming marriage retreat and Fix My Marriage System masterclass.
P.S.S- God wants your marriage to last. Spend time with HIM, ignore the works of the devil and know that you will stand the test of time. We are praying for you!