Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
I’m looking at fresh fallen snow in my backyard – a rarity in middle Tennessee. The snow reminds me of 2017, a fresh opportunity to make the right kind of footprints in the new year, especially in your marriage. In counseling, I spend a lot of energy giving couples tools to make their marriages stronger, but it’s equally vital to avoid the landmines. A cutting comment, a negative attitude, a passive-aggressive remark can rapidly undo a lot of hard work in your relationship.
What are the common triggers that erupt a fight in your marriage? Discuss them and get rid of them together.What triggers cause fights in your marriage? Get rid of them this year! Click To Tweet
Start a new year in your marriage by making the right kind of footprints. Here are my top four marriage landmines to avoid in 2017.
- Back-handed compliments. “Honey, great job finally taking out the trash the third time I asked you.” This is the opposite of appreciation. A compliment with a “but” at the end totally cancels the positive you were trying to offer your spouse. Give each other genuine praise with no qualifiers. There’s always room for improvement. Equally, there is always something kind you can say about your spouse. Find it and tell him/her, no ifs ands or buts.
- Aimless Drifting. You don’t have to obsessive-organize every detail, but your marriage needs a focus and a plan. Pray together and set a couple of marriage goals. Ask God to reveal what he wants to accomplish in your marriage. My wife is the goal-setter in our family and initiates this time of planning every year. Without a plan, you will aimlessly drift, reacting to life with no vision or purpose. Instead, pray and plan together and continually revisit those goals throughout the year.
- A “fix-it” attitude toward your spouse. Stop trying to fix your spouse. It’s controlling, condescending, arrogant and patronizing. Yes, your spouse needs to improve, but look in the mirror. So do you. Work on improving your half of the marriage, and it will impact your spouse. When you die to yourself you set the stage for marital growth and healing.
- A lazy walk with God. The Lord is the Creator of marriage and all that makes it up, including sex, companionship, the team effect, and everything that makes up the “Two are better than one” concept from Ecclesiastes 4:9a. He made it all.
So for your marriage to function as it should, each spouse should recognize their individual spiritual responsibility they bring to the marriage. Wherever you are with God right now, trust the simple yet profound promise of James 4:8, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” Your walk with God is so related to your marital connection or lack thereof.