Monday, March 28, 2016

7 Marriage Pitfalls to Avoid Like the Plague ~ and the $40 Giveaway!



Potential pitfalls in any relationship are countless and plentiful, aren't they.

Too often, these sometimes ghastly occurrences emerge as no big surprise.  Truth be told, long ago we glimpsed the writing on the wall, but we were somehow unready, unwilling, or unable to wisely deal with attitudes or behaviors {our own or our spouse's} that ranged from mildly irritating to downright abusive.  

You know, those ongoing choices that have proven to be unhealthy or perhaps even dangerous to the emotional, physical, or spiritual well-being of our marriages.

{What constitutes abuse?  Click here for relationship expert Leslie Vernick's clear-cut guidance on what constitutes physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse.  And you can find help at The National Domestic Violence Hotline here.}

But we're not talking abuse today. 

Instead, we're focusing on marriage's irritating, foolish snares.  When all is said and done, these pitfalls ultimately emerge as spiritual issues, because no one loves to fan the flames of inappropriate, subtly destructive behavior more than the enemy of our souls who most certainly hates any loving, loyal, compassionate commitment.  

Especially one that's Christ-centered.

On the table today?  Seven marriage bugaboos to be aware of ...




1. Thinking your spouse has a crystal ball.
For years I figured that my husband should just instinctively KNOW my deepest desires and all my hopes and dreams.  Truth is, he didn't have a clue.

Along the way, I discovered that the love of my life was not a mind reader, and if I wanted him to know all about my quirky intricacies, I was going to have to tell him.  And do so with respect, during times of peace, not when my hair was standing on end with frustration.

2. Wanting to be right instead of wanting to be content.
Some spouses are so busy fighting for their rights, fighting to be heard, fighting to win the next argument, or fighting to come out on top that they don't realize that all these futile debates do is produce a lose/lose outcome.  No one emerges as a winner ... and the very-much-aware children end up as the biggest losers of all.

Choose your battles wisely.  Is this worth going to the mat for?  Does it draw you closer to God?  Probably not.

3. Believing that you're the Holy Spirit.
One of the things that the Spirit does so beautifully is convict {John 16:8-10}.  If we are endlessly haranguing our spouse about diet, smoking, finances, in-laws, health, leadership, parenting, church attendance, ad nauseam, we are treading on ground that we don't own.  Learn the art of speaking the truth in love with respect.  After bringing up the topic no more than 2 or 3 times, drop it.

Allow natural consequences to kick in.  And use the energy that you were burning up to converse with God about what's bugging you.  And watch His power kick into gear.

4. Entertaining at your spouse's expense.
Few things are more embarrassing than seeing one spouse constantly correcting the other or making tasteless remarks and insensitive, stupid jokes at the other's expense.  The emotionally abused spouse feels ends up feeling like two cents.  And this craving to be in the spotlight only reflects the big mouth's own neediness and lack of self-esteem, and they end up looking petty and small themselves.

If this is you, please clam up.

5. Demanding that your spouse will meet all your needs.
Let each other off the hook on this one.  Does he get catatonic at the thought of an all-day shopping marathon?  Do her eyes glaze over at the prospect of watching back to back to back games on TV?  There are some needs that can only be met by a same-sex friend or other family members.  Or the rewards that creative work or an interesting hobby can offer.

But ultimately, only the Lover of our souls is ready, willing, and able to meet the deepest, gaping needs that remain unfulfilled in the deepest parts of who we are.

6. Hoping your true colors will remain hidden.
The honeymoon is oh so sweet.  But your true colors will most likely begin to show up as you have children.  Or are unable to.  During any kind of trauma, loss, crisis.  Or as you age.

Just ask the spouse who pushes a wheelchair.  Applies medication to their life partner's gaping pressure sores.  Cleans out a clogged trach tube.  Or changes their messy Depends.  Faithfully.  Day in and day out.

7. Inviting your family and friends into your personal business.
Do not fall into the easy trap of sharing your marital problems with family or friends who will get pulled into taking sides in your drama.  Not only will they take sides, but long after you and your spouse have reconciled and moved ahead, they will forever remember the secrets you shared that should have been yours {and God's} alone.

And their relationship with your spouse will be permanently marred.




What pitfalls have you learned to steer clear of?

And remember, every comment left during this Marriage Mini-Series puts you in the running for the giveaway of a $40 Amazon gift card! 


<  On Being Intimate

What's It Like Being Married To You?  >

*

visiting with
Kelly  .  Beth  .  Holley  .  Leah  .  Lyli  

76 comments:

  1. Yes! To all of these! Such a wonderful reminder! And yes! To especially number 2, 3 + 7!

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    1. Glad you're here, Jandi, that you've kicked off our conversation from far across the globe!

      ;-}

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  2. You make some very good points here, Linda. Personal relationships are so tricky and full of potential for mistakes.

    God bless.

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    1. I always appreciate the man's perspective ... especially one from Britain since that's where my Dad came from.

      Thanks, Victor.

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    2. The thing is Linda, over the years society has made it easier for couples to divorce. There is no longer a feeling of shame or failure when a marriage breaks down. In the UK we now have quicky "no-blame divorce". As long as both partners agree that they no longer wish to remain married, they go to their respective lawyers and can divorce with no difficulty within 6 months or so. Lawyers generally get on with the procedure of divorce, with little if any attempt to encourage reconciliation. It is not their job to do so. The view is: you've come here for a divorce, let's get on with it.

      This being said, plus the fact that society has become more materialistic, and in most cases (here in the UK) less spiritual; then there is no compulsion to adhere to one's marriage vows. They are, in effect, meaningless.

      I have known a number of divorces/break-ups in my time. Some for the most basic reasons. In one case, the wife left the marriage "because I have a right to be happy with someone else". Note the "right" to be happy. She just met someone else and left husband and family behind. Financially, (in the UK) all assets are put on the table and divided by two. So she walked away with a tidy sum in her bank account. See how easy it is? It almost encourages and rewards a quick divorce.

      I've seen other cases where the man left the marriage for similar reasons, forgetting marriage vows which seem to be only a formality in order to get married.

      You're doing a great job, Linda, with your series on marriage. If it helps only one marriage to stay together you've done a splendid job.

      God bless.

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    3. Your insights are surely welcome, Victor. I read with interest recently that the divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since.

      That's the good news.

      I've seen more than a few marriages dissolve along the way. It's usually an ugly, messy process that leaves a trail of sorrow in its wake and financial disaster for everyone involved. Sadly, the woman and children seem to get left holding the bag.

      No one ever emerges as a winner.

      Fortunately, God gives grace, forgiveness, and fresh beginnings. And for this, I rejoice.

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    4. Could it be the stats are skewed because they're just not marrying anymore?

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  3. "Sadly, the woman and children seem to get left holding the bag."

    Here in the UK, let's assume it is a middle class family with modest income, the wife would most certainly keep the children, get half of the value of the house, as well as half of everything else - cars, jewellery, etc ... plus half of the man's pension fund. Say he is in his mid to late fourties and has accumulated savings and pension assets. The wife gets half of this even though she probably did not work throughout the marriage. If she did work; her assets, savings, pension etc ... are also divided by two between her and the husband. If she takes the children the husband will have to pay alimony up to age 18, or possibly longer, depending on circumstances.

    I agree, in poorer families it could mean financial disaster for both.

    The rate of marriages ending in divorce is about 1 in 3 - although many people are now living together and having children without getting married.

    God bless.

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    1. Good point that many couples are now living together and having children without being married, Victor. That might cut the official divorce rate ... but it makes me wonder what the stats of living together break-ups look like.

      Sad.

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  4. Been way too guilty of about all of the above. I have a "saint" for a wife who has put up with so much from me. :)

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    1. Yep, we're all in process on this, Bill. I know NO ONE who's arrived.

      ;-}

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  5. Yeah, umm, most of these apply to me or have applied to me. Glad we learn and adapt!

    I think I will always want James to just know what I think. Sigh.

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    1. I'm with you, Sarah. I will always want my husband to know what I think and how I feel. What prompts one spouse to go on and on is often an inability or unwillingness the other spouses has in validating what they've heard their partner say. I think we're looking for validation that our thoughts and feelings matter.

      That we matter.

      Not necessarily agreement.

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  6. Dear Linda,
    You are dealing with tricky subjects in a candid honest way! No doubt at some point we have been guilty of expecting more from our spouse instead of being more open and communicating better. It is amazing though how when we come before the Lord and open our hearts to Him, that as He changes us, He helps us be more loving and kind to our spouse and family. Without the Lord, such a miserable lot we are! The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it! Without the Lord we cannot even change ourselves, much less others. But in HIM, as He changes me, this changes how I treat those around me, and there is such joy in that. Thank you for this wonderful little series that you are writing, I've been blessed and encouraged by your approach to the subject! Much love to you today dear friend!

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    1. My clients have often heard me talk about that Psalm 139 passage --> 'Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in ME, and lead me in the way everlasting.'

      It can be pretty helpful to stop turning the endless spotlight on our spouses and allow God to help us look deeply at our own stuff.

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    2. This is the beginning of transformation in self and marriage too

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    3. Amen ... well said, Christine!

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  7. Another great post that I have read this evening. I am going to copy yours also and put in my file. Often in our Bible study someone will come to me afterwards and I would like something to give them to read and then I can follow up with, "what did you think about what you read?" Great read.

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    1. Thanks for sharing with your Bible Study friends, Betty. I hope that this is helpful to you ... and I love your follow-up question!

      ;-}

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  8. #2 is one that I have to fight against the most. For whatever reason, I have this urge to be "right" and now that Google is my ally, I want to rush there to back me up. :) But it's not how I want to be because it's so ugly. Yuck. I'm learning as I get older to let more things go, but it's a struggle.

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    1. That's FUNNY about heading off to Google for back up, Lisa! I've been known to make people crazy talking into Google Voice Search for quick info!

      Technology ... what would we do without it?

      ;-}

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  9. Sound thoughts here, Linda. These points were ones my husband and I unknowingly slipped into fairly easily. (Thank God!) However, vigilance is always in style because it's easy for any one of them to slip into everyday life. Good read.

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    1. Oohh ... you said this, Kristi -->'vigilance is always in style.'

      And my heart said YES!

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  10. Linda,
    Where were you when I got married 24 years ago??? (just kidding)...I agree with what you wrote and it is only by God's grace can I do any of it :-)

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    1. You said it best, Dolly ... anything good we do, anything good we are, is only by His grace.

      What a wonderful Savior!

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  11. Such wise insight again, Linda. Thank you. Blessings and hugs to you!

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  12. Oh these are so good... and I think we can all fall into them if we are not mindful! Great post!

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    1. Mindful. Yes. Super way to put it, Karrilee ...

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  13. Pitfalls for sure, Linda! You've handled them all with grace. Thank you.

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  14. Such good points. I remember Elisabeth Elliot sharing that she struggled with arguing with her husband(s) -- and realized that she had made an idol out of being RIGHT. Sobering thought, but I find it in my own heart, too, and am thankful for any wisdom that flushes me out of my hidden sin. Thanks, Linda.

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    1. Yes, this is a big one for alot of us. I can't help but think that inside is a little child who just yearns to be affirmed, validated, and cherished ... not necessarily agreed with.

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  15. Okay, Linda, you nailed the jelly to the wall with these. It took me a long time to believe my husband was not a mind reader. After all, if he loved me and we had dated for two and a half years, he should know what I liked, what blessed me, what I hoped for, etc. That one just didn't want to die....too many romance novels I guess!! I was awful at looking to my sweetheart to meet all my needs when we were first married living on a Marine Corps base hundreds of miles from home and friends. Thanks for your great list in this post! (I also think Leslie Veronica is great! I attended several of her workshops over the years at AACC and have her books on my bookshelf still!!) Blessings on you, my friend!

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    1. Wow ... what do ya' bet that we were in some of those same AACC workshops? Leslie's a favorite of mine ... so wise and insightful, with a firm grasp of Scripture. I consider her an expert on all things dealing with abuse.

      I'll be sharing some of her resources on an upcoming post.

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  16. One that I have seen is being negatively compared to an ex-spouse or ex-significant-other. That's a real killer.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/03/jonah-story-of-viet-nam-blogbattle.html

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    1. Oh yeah. That's a good one / bad one, Andrew.

      Yikes ... a true intimacy killer indeed.

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  17. Pitfalls to avoid for sure! It took us a while to recover from #7. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, friend. xoxo

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    1. Finding the right kind of support from the right kind of people is a hard line to navigate. This is a huge challenge, especially for Christians who believe in prayer warriors coming 'round them during times of crisis.

      Hard stuff ...

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  18. Great points. Such wise things to be aware of! So glad I could join you, partner, from Holley's site today!

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    1. How fun to have you here today, Kelly!

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  19. Hi Linda, today, I am cautiously paying attention to these words and I am hinding them in my heart!
    I am pulling my ears for the last one especially, thank God it has never happened and I am praying it never does,. Marriage is hard work that yields huge benefits and precious rewards that money cannot buy.
    Every Good Marriage is worth fighting for and working for too. I like your encouragement to do the best we can and with God on our sides things will be well.
    God Bless, friend

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    1. Thanks for joining us today, Ifeoma. Your words will encourage those who read them ...

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  20. HI Linda! I found you over at Leah's link-up. This was a great post- and it made me giggle!! #2 was my favorite- although every one of them are just perfect. #2 resonates the word "TEAM" - as a married couple me and my husband are a TEAM. When couples really grasp that... it will change their marriage!

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    1. I liked that you giggled, Shannon ... very much!

      Welcome ...

      ;-}

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  21. Linda, so much truth! As a counselor, I hear these complaints and witness the effects of these things every day. Thanks for a great post. BTW I'm visiting from "The Loft" today. Blessings!

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    1. I can't wait to come visit you, counselor to counselor. So glad you've dropped by today, Donna ...

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  22. My husband and I have learned that I have a point where I am "just". I'm so emotionally keyed up or drained that I just just just.... I don't even have a word for it. I am just about to go over the edge into tears. He's learned to back off and let me calm down.

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    1. Yes, this is a wise man. Few discussions are profitable when one person {or both} is emotionally distraught.

      Sometimes we need a huge breather before we can have a decent conversation.

      Thanks for adding to THIS dialogue here, Laura!

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  23. These are so good. #1 is hard though when you fear rejection. I haven't quite figured out how to go there with some things. Waiting on the Lord for timing and guidance.

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    1. Yes, you said it well, friend. Fear is a lousy taskmaster and most decisions we make from that place aren't our best choices.

      Praying for discernment and wisdom in this for you ...

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  24. Such wise advice, Linda. I have plowed my way through more than one of these early in my marriage. I'm so thankful my man stuck with me and we have a really good marriage after 21 years! Thanks for joining us at The Loft.

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    1. Still plowing here and there ... even after 40 years! It's hard to dance a new dance sometimes ...

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  25. You hit the nail on the head with this list, Linda. For me, the first three are the most convicting. I've made progress, but still have a long way to go. So thankful that I have a husband with a good sense of humor and a short memory ... :-)

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    1. Now THERE'S a combo ... a good sense of humor and a short memory!

      ;-}

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  26. I agree with the others, Dead On! I wish I would have known in the early years of my marriage, I would have saved myself years of grief. I'm glad you are writing on marriage so that the newlyweds who read here may take a different road or approach with their spouse.

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    1. Oh gosh ... if I knew then what I knew now.

      But then even if someone had tried to tell us, we probably wouldn't have listened. 20 year olds know it all, don't they ...

      ;-{

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  27. "This" from the life a woman who's been there and done that! You share with us wisdom, Linda, that I hope many take heed of and put into practice. I've done all of these and more, but find in my older years a greater satisfaction with "less" because God gives me more in the less! ;-) Love ya and your marriage series, girlfriend!

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    1. A greater satisfaction with less because He is MORE than enough. Yes, Beth, you've spelled it out well. I am loving this season of life, too. It's a great grace, isn't it ...

      God is good.

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  28. I am guilty of sometimes thinking my hubby should just "know" what I want! Crazy! Sometimes I don't even know ...

    Thanks for sharing at The Loft today!

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    1. Dear Jerralea ... 'sometimes I don't even know ...'

      Ain't that the TRUTH!

      ;-}

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  29. Hi Linda,
    I enjoyed reading through these tips and they can also apply to our family relationships and friendships, can't they? I remind myself so many times throughout the day with my work colleagues to offer grace -- just as they offer me-- words spoken thoughtlessly can hinder our friendships, work relationships and our families -- good advice for us all! :)

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    1. You're a sweetheart to hang with me through this series, Valerie. It means alot, please know.

      And yes, you're spot on ... these are all relationship issues, not just marital challenges.

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  30. Hi Linda,

    Phew, I'm still working on many of these some days.... not trying to control the other person like their conscience or sense of judgment, plus reminding myself to choose my battles and not come out nitpicking everything. Aiye. I'm thankful for a patient man and a kind helpful God who carves and sculpts me.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Yeah, nitpicking comes way too easy, doesn't it. I find it's often because of frustration somewhere else. Or maybe fear?

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  31. I nodded my head all the way through this, my friend. I'm embarrassed to say I've been guilty of every one of these at some point in our marriage. They are absolute pitfalls and Satan is just standing by waiting for us to fall in one. Great advice here, Linda. Thank you! #2 is definitely a work in progress for me ;).

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    1. Trust me, I'm nodding my head with you. No one's arrived, that's for sure. Don't you just love how we learn as we write, as we share, as we converse?

      And yes, I hear you about #2!

      ;-}

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  32. I'm so thankful you suggested Leslie Vernick to me those months ago. What a wonderful resource she's been! And you, what wonderful words of advice today...ahem, #1 may be an issue for me ;)

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    1. Yep, Leslie is simply A+ in my book, Meg! So much of my counseling philosophy has been gleaned from her wise teaching ...

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  33. Wow! Enjoy your post. I've been married 40 years and need a reminder that we can all fall into the pitfalls. Linda. Learn a lot from the comments too. Good job. Thank you.

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    1. Yay! Another 40-yearer!

      And yes to learning from the comments, Christine. I think they're usually the best part of the whole post!

      ;-}

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  34. I was nodding my head "yes and amen" as I read this earlier this week. Glad I got to revisit again today.

    I would add -- be willling to give your spouse space and time as needed to think things through when you don't agree on things. Recently, I've had more than one converation with a friend regarding the "we need to resolve this right now" syndrome that one spouse develops. -- My man is an introvert and a thinker. He needs to have alone time to pray through things and then decide. This works better for us than insisting on hashing things out immediately.

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    1. Wow ... that you re-visited is just too cool. Thank you, Lyli.

      I'm with your man {well not really, but ya' know}. Us introverts need great big swaths of quiet time and space to process things. We don't usually think quick on our feet and aren't at our best when pressured.

      The super-wise extrovert spouse knows this and allows the introvert the grace of space ... even if it takes longer than they'd prefer.

      Insisting that 'we need to resolve this NOW' is only asking for a very unhappy ending, for sure.

      ;-{

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  35. This is good, practical stuff - tested and true! So many women can benefit from this wise counsel!

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    1. Tested, for sure! Thanks for visiting with us this afternoon!

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda