If you’ve been married any length of time, you’re probably familiar with conflict.
As a marriage counselor, I have the privilege of helping people navigate through conflict and learn new ways of resolving conflict in their marriage.
Can you think of a conflict you’ve had with your spouse?
How did it get resolved?
2 Powerful Questions to Improve Your Marriage
When I am doing marriage counseling, I often see the same key piece missing when couples are trying to navigate conflict.
Are you ready to hear what it is?
The key piece that’s missing from resolving marital conflict is… self-reflection. That makes sense, right? When conflict ensues, words begin to fly, feelings get hurt and walls go up. So, what do we do?
We tend to point blame. Have you heard of the saying, “When in pain, blame.”?
When we’re hurt we shift focus to what our spouse said or did. We forget to reflect on our own words and actions.
But, I actually want to take you deeper still. Even if you did reflect on your words or actions and took responsibility… did you reflect on your thoughts or motives?When we're hurt we shift focus to what our spouse said or did. We forget to reflect on our own words and actions. Click To Tweet
Words and actions are on the surface and pretty hard to deny. But, thoughts and motives go deeper than the surface.
While it can be scary to navigate deeper waters – that’s where heart change happens.
We’re no longer settling for suppressing outward behavior, we’re looking for a change from the inside out.
That’s what God has in store for His people. Change from the inside out.
Will you trust His Holy Spirit to help you find your way around the deeper waters of your heart?Will you trust His Holy Spirit to help you find your way around the deeper waters of your heart? Click To Tweet
First, I have a couple theories on why we stick with surface stuff and ignore the deep waters of our heart.
Let’s dive in! (no pun intended!)
1. We fear what a deeper look reveals. It is so easy to swim in self-righteousness on the surface. Examining our hearts always reveals there is work to be done.
2. Once our heart is unveiled and the light hits areas that are dark, there is work to be done. This isn’t light duty, it’s “roll up your sleeves and get down to business” work.
God is the ultimate heart surgeon and you have a helper, the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. You have everything you need to get the job done.God is the ultimate heart surgeon and you have a helper, the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. You have everything you need to get the job done. Click To Tweet
Do you have the courage to go deeper by asking yourself these 2 questions?
Improve Your Marriage: Question #1
What assumptions am I making?
Notice, I didn’t ask you if you were making assumptions. You are definitely making assumptions.
How would I know that? Because you’re made to make assumptions.
Our brains are actually wired to fill in the gaps. This means, when we don’t have all the
information, we draw conclusions. Drawing conclusions means we’re judging.
We base conclusions on previous experiences, tangible information and feelings/emotions. This all seems logical, so what’s the problem? We’re drawing conclusions without proof.
We’re drawing conclusions without facts. Then we react based on our assumptions. That’s a problem.
Don’t worry, I have a few solutions:
1. Confess it, shed light on it. As long as it stays covered in the dark it grows and gains
2. Replace assumptions with questions (out loud). Ask clarifying questions such as, “What
did you mean by that?” “Why did you (fill in the blank)?”
3. The Bible is pretty clear that judging is part of God’s job description, not ours. So that
means it’s sin when we do the judging of other people’s hearts.
Improve Your Marriage: Question #2
What did I want to happen?
I have a love/hate relationship with this question. I love to ask other people this question in counseling and I hate reflecting on this question for myself.
This simple question of “what did I want to happen;” takes a deeper look at 2 things.
First, it allows me to evaluate my expectations. It’s so common to barrel forward in our marriage making demands without stepping back and evaluating whether or not our expectations are reasonable.
Instead, we tend to visualize what we want and demand it. We hold our desires so tightly, we may say or do something that is damaging to our marriage relationship.We hold our desires so tightly, we may say or do something that is damaging to our marriage relationship. Click To Tweet
The 2nd thing, asking “what did I want to happen” accomplishes, is a deeper look at our own heart. The motives/desires of our hearts are under the magnifying glass. The diagnosis can be scary.
A deeper look at my desires reveals whose interests I am pursuing. The truth is, as we peel this layer back, it becomes clear how often we make demands that are going to benefit our self.
These 2 questions, if faced bravely and honestly will improve your marriage.
Is there room for improvement in your marriage?
The same 2 questions will also improve your quality of life. How? Because you will be
increasingly living your purpose to give God glory.
Battling negative assumptions and evaluating the motives of your heart is part of sanctification.
Are you in for bravely and honestly facing these 2 questions in your marriage?
1. What assumptions am I making?
2. What did I want to see happen?
You can do this! God is with you, guiding you and most of all loving you.You can do this! God is with you, guiding you and most of all loving you. Click To Tweet
About the Author:
Sunshyne Gray is a Biblical Christian Counselor and writer.
When she is not counseling couples and individuals on living a life that lines up with God’s
purpose, she is a warrior wife of 18 years and a soccer mom to 2 kiddos.
Sign up for her weekly articles at https://mailchi.mp/dc4a8a37a1fb/sunshynegrayresources
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