Updated: Jun 5
Emily is busy; every corner of the house is sparkling! The aroma of Victor's favorite meal wafts through their kitchen. She feels accomplished. Earlier, she made sure she finished the most important details in her office and left early to get all ready for tonight's date. This date comes on the heels of a couple of days of mutual resentment after discussing financial challenges. Emily feels guilty for yesterday's harsh criticism of Victor's ways of handling their finances.
Victor arrives as she puts the finishing touches on her outfit and makeup. Sadly, she hugs him and feels Victor's cold, mechanical response. At the table, he is physically present but, in other ways, absent. She gives him multiple hints that it is date night, and she is prepared for romance and fun. Unfortunately, Victor is still emotionally missing. After finishing his food, he takes a shower and goes straight to sleep. Emily is hurting.
Conflict resolution isn't everything when it comes to relationships. Sure, it is important to be equipped to experience win-win solutions with your spouse. However, to experience positive outcomes in conflict, each individual requires emotional resilience to fight "the good fight."
What do we mean by that?
Conflicts in marriage are a given. (Sometimes, they are God's blessing!) Bringing two people together, in one place, with two different temperaments, desires, needs, ideas, etc., can bring on plenty of opportunities in need of resolution. A married couple requires the emotional capacity to fight "the good fight," a reserve to stay in the fight without withdrawing, and the ability to bounce back to their previous emotional state before the argument.
Believe it or not, that emotional capacity is found in a relationship - Joy. Joy built into your marriage allows you to weather the storms, increase the ability to a quicker resolution and keep your relationship connected even through the conflict. Joy is the "good" fuel for the brain. That is the "fuel" many are more familiar with during confrontations. Instead of being fueled by joy, you could be fueled by fear. The results are less than ideal for having a strong and resilient marriage.
Emily and Victor need conflict resolution since Victor is being blocked in all senses by resentment. Victor needs to forgive Emily. Nevertheless, could Victor's emotional capacity have been enhanced prior to this conflict? Yes, it could! If his emotional capacity tank was filled, Victor might have recognized Emily's "thoughtful preparations" were meant to bridge the joy gap and that she was metaphorically "trying to hold his hand."
One of our most significant secrets to a long-standing happy marriage is worshiping the same God and being intentional about having fun together and building lasting joy.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
JM & Anita Arrunategui/"The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages" by Marcus Warner & Chris Coursey
The content published is for informational purposes. The content included in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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