I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now, but I kept putting it off. The thought of letting you into my inner struggles left me feeling vulnerable and somewhat ashamed. I have been learning what it means to have a more understanding marriage. That learning hasn’t come easy, but I hope that it helps you in not only your marriage, but in all of your relationships.
I can’t put it off any longer. So here it goes…
A Guide to a More Understanding Marriage:
A few months ago the hubby and I had an all out yelling match. I think it was the first time in our 9 years of marriage that we have yelled at each other like that. To be honest, I don’t really remember the reason that we were yelling at each other. But I do remember the lesson that came from it. I was recently reminded of that lesson when I overreacted to some burnt meat on the BBQ… but that’s a whole other story…
At some point in the middle of this yelling match, I stopped myself and thought “this is ridiculous!” We were both yelling for the same reason. Neither of us felt heard.
We were both trying to get our points across, but neither of us were listening to what the other had to say. We were in all out defense mode, and our arguments were just aggravating each other instead of helping us come to any sort of agreement.
Something that we have always practiced in our marriage is taking time-outs. When we feel overwhelmed, hurt, or misunderstood, instead of fighting with each other, we take a time-out to sort out our feelings. Once we have calmed down, we come back together and talk about it until we reach an agreement… or in some cases, agree to disagree.
This particular time, there was something that clicked in the middle of all the yelling. I had what I like to call an “AH-HA! moment”. I looked at my husband as he was yelling, and all the words that were coming out of his mouth just melted away, and I saw his heart. My husband was fighting for me to feel what he was feeling; he wanted to be understood. He was yelling because I wasn’t hearing what he was trying so hard to portray to me.
In that moment, I heard “step into his shoes”.
It was as if I had blinders on and all I cared about was my own heart. I failed to see that he was hurting too. That I had hurt him. I needed to step out of my own shoes, and put on his shoes to see his point of view.
I visualized myself removing my shoes, and putting his shoes on. Only then was I able to hear what he was saying to me. Looking at the situation from his point of view opened my eyes to so many things I had never seen before. I learned that he feels a lot of the same things that I feel. He desires to feel loved and accepted just as much as I do. In the midst of our fight, we realized that we were in fact both fighting for the exact same reasons. It became less about being “right”, and more about seeing the other person’s point of view so that we could resolve the issue without tearing each other down.
I can honestly say that since I had this revelation, we have become so much more vulnerable and open with each other about our feelings. We are in no way perfect, but we are now equipped to remind ourselves that this isn’t only about ‘me’. There is another person, who’s feelings matter and deserve to be heard.
It’s such a hard thing to do, to put your own feelings aside for a moment, and look through someone else’s eyes. That’s not to say that it isn’t important to stand up for your own feelings and needs. It’s just as important to have your own voice heard. Sometimes it’s in that moment of humility where you say, his needs are just as important as my own, that your heart will transform, and what was once a fight, becomes an opportunity for growth.
Step out of your shoes, and into his.
I pray that my experience and learning, helps you have a more understanding marriage. If you’ve learned anything from my post, I encourage you to share it with your friends, because someone may just need to hear this today.