I’ve discovered three questions you can use to diagnose an ailing marriage. I would like to tell you I discovered these questions while completing my graduate degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, but the truth is, I discovered these questions while lying in a hospital bed.
Resentment can be like a wall that separates spouses, and the longer the wall stays up, the harder it is to get over it. Walls of resentment can become so high and thick that spouses lose hope of ever getting over it.
But there are some things you can do if you have a wall of resentment in your marriage.
People who know me know I am not a handyman. I’m someone who can turn a simple fifteen minute fix-it job into an all day nightmare. I am the guy from whom repair people make their money.
So with that in mind, here’s the story…
It was around eight in the evening and my wife was in the laundry room when I heard these words. “Oh no! That’s just great!” Though I didn’t want to, I asked, “What’s wrong?”
Some of my favorite movies (much to my wife’s dismay) are “The Matrix” trilogy of movies. They never get old to me. I can watch them over and over and still find new thing in them that I didn’t see before.
This happened a while back when I was watching “The Matrix Reloaded (2003). In this movie, the hero (Neo) has been summoned by someone who is supposedly on Neo’s side…Seraph. But when Neo gets there, Seraph begins to fight with him. When the fight is over, Neo asks Seraph why, and Seraph replies, “You do not truly know someone until you fight them.”
But despite how I feel about the check engine light, it really is my friend. It lets me know something is wrong so I can fix it before it gets worse. It’s much better to have a check engine light come on, then to have the car blow up suddenly without warning.
Thankfully, each marriage comes equipped with a check engine light.
I niavely thought it would be smooth sailing after the contract was signed. After all, we had a buyer who wanted the house enough to sign a contract. “We’re there!” I thought. But there was more for me to learn.
I often tell couples that marriage is like baseball. The key is knowing which pitches to swing at and which pitches to let go by. Others have said the key to marriage is figuring out which hills are too small to die on. However you describe it, there are times in marriage when you have to determine…is this something I should try to change or is this something I should learn to live with?”
In a podcast entitled “Managing Tension,” Andy Stanley talks about determining the difference between a problem to be solved and a tension to be managed. He is speaking to leaders of organizations, but I believe the concept is also applicable to spouses in marriage.