I grew up on the Gulf Coast in Southeast Texas and storms were a way of life there. We had thunderstorms often as well as the occasional Tropical Storm. I remember one storm in particular that several of us were playing in our garage because of the rain and all of a sudden lightening struck our house. What a tremendous flash and lots of fear that went along with it. The lightening strike created some damage to the house and fear, but did not destroy the house.
Another storm that I remember several years later was one that was not expected at all. I was sailing with a friend and her family when all of a sudden a storm blew up over the horizon. The father began giving us instructions on how to navigate through the rough waters and wind in order to out run the storm to our safety. Without his experience in sailing, we would have been caught in the middle of a potentially bad situation. We know that storms are a part of life, but many times we are surprised by them and do not navigate them well at all.
Men and women handle storms differently. Now, I know that doesn’t come as a shock to you if you have been married for any amount of time. Men and women do just about everything differently from one another. They speak differently, relate differently, even eat differently. I could go on about the differences between men and women, but today I want to focus on handling difficulties in life.
As you think about your marriage, think about the difficulties you have been through: Illnesses of children, job difficulties, extended family conflicts and the list could go on and on. How did you handle each of them? More than likely the man withdrew from his wife, while his wife wanted to connect with her husband. Men tend to withdraw and attempt to resolve the conflict in his mind before he includes anyone else into the equation. Women, on the other hand, want to include others in the resolving stage.
Here are some thoughts about how to navigate difficult times as a couple.
- Tell your spouse when you are having a difficult time. Men and women, alike, need to inform the other about what is going on in your life. We are not in this alone, but as one. Let your spouse know what you think about the difficulty. Allow him/her into your thoughts and feelings. It will bring you closer to each other.
- Ask for help. Ask your spouse to help you in your difficulty. Ask for their thoughts and feelings and any suggestions that they might have to deal with your situation. Remember, you are in life together.
- Make a plan together. It is important that each of you work toward a resolution. It might be “your” difficulty, but “what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine’ describes the marriage relationship.
- Pray together. This step should be the first step. Take your difficulty to God together. God has a solution for the storm in order to bring peace in your life. God’s peace and solution will bring a new level of intimacy into your marriage.
These four steps will help you navigate the storms in life as a married couple. A lot of couples attempt to do things as individuals and therefore they end up single. When we decide to work together as a couple and focus on being “one flesh,” our relationship will be strengthened through the difficulties of life.
John 16:33 (NLT) 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”