Marriage Under Pressure: Staying Intact Through Difficult Times

Marriage Under Pressure: Staying Intact Through Difficult Times

Every marriage faces times under pressure. Sometimes you overschedule your time or money, and the pressure builds. Sometimes an unexpected illness or accident threatens your well-laid plans. Sometimes your attempts at a project result in only frustration, or a misunderstanding creates hard feelings. Sometimes outside “stuff” comes against you that threatens your sense of normalcy.

Whatever the source, how you act when under pressure says a lot about your level of maturity and the strength of your relationship. When the heat gets turned up you find out what you’re really made of.

Al and I faced a big pressure-cooker day recently. As things calmed down we reflected together on what to do when tough stuff happens. I think you’ll find our combined suggestions here helpful for when your own marriage gets put under pressure. (This works when both husband and wife are people of good will, and care about their marriage.)

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If Your Wife Does Not Respect You

If Your Wife Does Not Respect You

Men thrive on respect. It’s right there at the top of a man’s emotional needs. If your wife does not respect you, you probably feels like a failure, at least at home.

God understands this need. He built it into a man’s heart. It’s why Paul wrote: “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)

When a man feels respect from his wife, he feels like he can take on the world. When he doesn’t, he feels isolated, angry, frustrated, and powerless. And if such a man feels respect from someone other than his wife, it will be hard for him not to wander from his marriage.

If you’re a man who does not feel respect in his home, you probably already know that it’s not something you can authoritatively command. At best, trying to force respect leads to grudging words and passive aggressive behavior. At worst it leads to active resistance or running away.

So what’s a man to do? Here are 5 things you can and should do if this is you. (Remember, I’m only talking about what YOU can do. And don’t worry, ladies; I’m writing another post for you.)

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What Should Christians Do About Ebola?

[guestpost]Since this post was first written Thomas Duncan, the Liberian national, has died. Two nurses who were caring for him and became infected with Ebola have thankfully recovered. And the debates over quarantines, travel restrictions, and preparedness continue. These recommendations still hold.[/guestpost]
Ebola ContainmentNews that a Liberian national visiting relatives in Texas is being treated for Ebola virus disease at a Dallas hospital has brought this crisis much closer to home for many Americans. It’s not just missionaries in some foreign land that are being affected now: it could be a student in your child’s school, the next patient you treat as a nurse or doctor, or someone you pass in the restroom at the airport.

There are a number of places where this current case of Ebola could have been caught earlier. The man himself could have told the truth on his entry questionnaire. Customs and immigration could have done more screening than a simple checklist questionnaire. The emergency room personnel could have communicated better at his first visit to the hospital. Ambulance and other first responding personnel could have been more alert and taken further precautions. Let’s pray that the current contact surveillance by public health personnel keeps this current individual from spreading the disease to others.

If the Dallas experience has shown us anything, it is that even our best-laid plans for protecting ourselves and others from such things as Ebola are not foolproof. And then there’s the issue of Christian love and humanitarian caring. How can we respond to such a crisis? How should we both protect ourselves and do our duty to those in need?

During some of history’s worst epidemics Christians have played an important role. When the Black Death ravaged Europe, killing 30-60% of the population during the 14th century, many times the Christians were the only ones who would care for the sick, putting themselves at significant risk. We must take seriously Christ’s command to love “the least of these,” but we must do so with wisdom.

Here are some things we MUST do now:

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How Do You Know if You are Mentally/Emotionally Healthy?

How Do You Know if You are Mentally/Emotionally Healthy?

Do you ever wonder if you’re OK mentally? With all the stress and struggle our modern world affords, who wouldn’t get upset, anxious, or depressed? How are you supposed to know if you’re responding normally or not?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness asserts that one in four of us experiences a mental illness in any given year. So it’s no wonder that over 20% are taking some kind of antidepressant medication. Right now we are entering Domestic Violence Awareness Month – certainly a significant source of mental/emotional distress and illness. We hear a lot about PTSD these days; God knows we have plenty of trauma in our world, and the after-affects are not surprising.

Think of the billions of dollars spent and entire industries built around people trying to get mentally healthy. It’s only in the last several decades that much of this has come to be. Come to think of it, what did people do before self-help groups, Prozac, and hotlines?

I’m being a little facetious. There is much of value in the products, services, and industries to help people experience a better life. But what are we really after? If some magic potion could make you instantly “mentally healthy,” would you recognize yourself? Would you know it when you got there?

“If you aim at nothing, you are sure to reach it every time.” While God never shows us every detail of the future He has for us, He shows us enough to make us hungry for it. He calls us to a life that is more challenging, meaningful, and abundant than anything we could ask for or achieve on our own.

This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

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6 Ways To Answer When Your Spouse Asks, “What’s Wrong?”

6 Ways To Answer When Your Spouse Asks, “What’s Wrong?”

How many times has your spouse asked you, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” you answer.

But that doesn’t fix anything. It may even make things even worse.

Your spouse is talking, and you’re not quite present. You seem a little distracted, or irritable. You’re a little less attentive than you usually are, and even forget something you were supposed to take care of. You get upset at something that normally wouldn’t bother you.

And God forbid it gets as bad as it did for George Baily in It’s A Wonderful Life. George comes home after the bank deposit has been lost and begins snapping at Mary and the children. Of course she asks, “What’s wrong, George?” He can’t bring himself to tell Mary about what has happened, and things go downhill from there.

If your spouse is sensitive at all, they will know when something isn’t quite right with you even when you think you’re covering it up quite well. That’s both good and bad: you may not really want to talk about it with him/her right then, because then you would have to worry about their reaction to the problem as well as the problem itself.

And so you answer, “Nothing.”

I’ve learned that answering “Nothing” usually adds to my husband’s anxiety if he senses that something is wrong. It’s easy for him to worry that he has done something to make me unhappy, or imagine that I’m stewing on a really big problem he’s not aware of.

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