I was pondering the idea of how life makes us feel as being foundational to how far we go in life. Then it occurred to me that my husband has mastered this concept in our marriage. Below is what he has done for 40 years to keep us thriving——Regardless of what has happened, he manages how we feel as the key strategy to get us through all bumps in the road. Here is a list of what he has practiced over the years:
1. Context is everything. Don’t take emotional outbursts personally. Instead ask, “Did something happen today?”
2. Understanding your role in the relationship is key. If you’re not called to be someone’s shrink, don’t try to be one. My husband tells our sons, “It doesn’t matter why mom needs that. Just do it because we love her and it makes her feel better.”
3. Right sizing a conversation is an art. If the conversation is emotional, stop arguing with facts and logic. Meet where the person is feeling and don’t tell them why they shouldn’t feel that way. Just join them so they don’t feel alone.
4. Be grateful you got to be the one to serve as a safe trusted friend. Radiate the message, “It will be ok. We’ll get through this together.”
5. Stop tracking what you did for each other. Sometimes we get to carry two people’s load and thank God for the strength to do it.
I praise God for those He sends into our lives to smooth out the raw edges of an imperfect world!