Five Steps to Cure Chronic Conversations
by Abby Kelly 11/11/2013 / Marriage
"Pray for me. Here it goes...again." I tapped send and temporarily sealed the conversation I'd been having with my best friend.
Turning, I set my sights on my husband and zapped him with the never-fail stun gun, "We need to talk."
Every couple has chronic conversations. The ones you see coming a mile away. They build in your chest, but get stuck in your throat. How do you bring up that one issue, the one that comes up over and over? What can you say this time to get through to your spouse how much whatever they are doing or not doing, saying or not saying, is hurting the relationship? Frustration holds your tongue. It's all been said before without change, and you risk rocking the proverbial boat to the point of capsizing, if you can't express yourself just right. But, if you don't say something, the pressure in your chest will soon erupt unchecked and most certainly sink the ship.
What if I told you that I've discovered a formula, a biblical formula for approaching chronic conversations? It's buried in the middle of a little book called Colossians. I'm embarrassed to admit that after countless "through the Bible in a year" programs, I'm only now discovering it. But I tried it that night after my husband recovered and generously engaged in our chronic conversation, one more time. It works. I pray that it is new, refreshing and life giving to your marriage.
1. Check your ego at the door. Colossians 3:7 points out that we have all offended God. All of us have acted out of impure motives, unholy passions and covetousness. Without a shadow of doubt, your spouse could launch a few chronic conversations, too.
2. Just the facts. It seems like a pedantic sin, one of those we think we left behind in grade school, but lying is an adult sin, too. When you're approaching your spouse with a chronic conversation be careful to only use the truth. Don't embellish frustrations with phrases like, "You always". But Colossians 3:9, "Do not lie to one another", also means that we cannot hide our hurts and pretend that everything is okay. Be honest about the offense and how you feel.
3. Never, never, never, NEVER give up. This is a tough one, but Colossians 3:13 says as clearly as Winston Churchill ever did, "Bear with one another." Some things never change. There's a chance you'll have this chronic conversation at intervals for the rest of your life. This biblical method doesn't mean that your spouse will instantly change; it does mean that the, "Peace of Christ will rule in your heart[s]", as you obey God's calling to forgive as He has forgiven you, and to pursue oneness with your spouse. (Col. 3:13-15)
4. When a surgeon sets about to remove an infection, he has to cut the patient open. Similarly, as you set about to address a festering wound in your marriage, you will have to say things that are painful. Sometimes people are cut, or hurt in the process of healing. Colossians 3:14 says to, "put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Love is the bandage or the sutures that must be applied to any and every relational wound. The purpose for having chronic conversations, again, is to restore perfect harmony, to bind the marriage more tightly, to bring the relationship to a more healthy place than it was before. The careful application of love ensures healing.
5. Thank God! The last step of the cure for chronic conversations can be taken together or separately. Often, after a tenuous discussion, it's best to allow some distance between you and your spouse. Wounds need fresh air to heal. In this last portion of Colossians 3, thankfulness is mentioned three times. Sink your heart into God's Word, thank Him for your spouse and for His plans for your marriage. Turn on worship music as you lift your gratitude to God. Verse 16 says, "Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness to God in your heart." The presence of God's Word and the exaltation of the name of Jesus prohibits Satan from invading and turning the chronic conversation into bitterness and anger.
Chronic conversations aren't fun for anyone. We fear they may be pointless and our words go unheard and unheeded one more time. But as you apply these steps, do so as for God. Use these steps with an obedient heart, pursing the oneness that is God's good blessing and calling for your marriage.