The Same Complaint for the Last 3 Years!January 6, 2017
I’ve been married to my husband for three years, three months and 26 days. From day one my no.1 complaint against him is “you could have said it more gently.”
Richard on the other hand wishes I would be more straight with him. That I stop saying “I’m ok,” when I’m not really OK.
Its so funny that after three years of marriage, we are still complaining about the same things.
We’re having a hard time ACCEPTING two truths: 1.) I can never be as straightforward with my words as Richard, and 2.) Richard can never be as gentle as I am. And no matter how hard we try, we cannot force one to become like the other!
Our mentors told us that this particular area in our marriage is NOT A PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED, but a TENSION TO BE MANAGED.
If we think about our major personality differences as a problem, that means there is a right solution to make it go away forever. (No more fighting over and over again about the same thing.)
But if we think of it as a tension, we have to recognize that nobody is completely right or wrong. Nobody needs to be “fixed.” We had to learn to accept and adjust every. single. day.
Richard’s straightforwardness is natural to his more dominant personality. I love his strong character because he could lead and protect our family.
But with his strong personality, he may say well-meaning criticisms in a way that can be difficult for people to accept. He can always use more gentleness –the area of my strength.
The downside of my soft-heartedness: I don’t tell people about their mistakes until it’s too late, and I have the tendency to say things like “I’m fine” (when I’m not), just to temporarily avoid a fight.
We had to accept that our tension had no solution. Some days my gentleness is needed, and on other days, his strength. Both are equally important and needed.
After three years of “training” each other, we still have a long way to go. But I enjoy the freedom of being more honest with my thoughts and feelings, while Richard has become even more gentle and caring in the way he speaks.
Every day Richard and I remind ourselves of the tension areas in our marriage. It’s silly to try and solve an area of tension, thinking it will go away. There is no solution. It won’t go away. But it can definitely be managed, and make us better people over time.
Is there a problem area in your relationship that you keep fighting about, over and over and over again? Perhaps its time to look at that problem differently.
Maybe it’s not a problem to be solved, but a healthy tension to be managed!
We learned a lot about this concept of managing tension from leadership speaker, Andy Stanley. See if you will find the following clip interesting!