3 Phrases That Will Change Your Marriage
- Donna Jones Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 14 Nov
What if a few simple words could change the course of a marital conflict gone south? What if one phrase could help you and your spouse hit rewind so you’re no longer dancing to the beat of two separate drums?
While there’s no magic wand to create a happy marriage, there are a few phrases that can help you and your spouse relate as a loving, caring, committed duo.
1. I’m on Your Team
During our first year of marriage, my husband, J.P., and I were smack dab in the middle of a conflict that was quickly escalating from bad to worse. I wanted him to see my perspective; he wanted me to see his. Both of us thought (or more honestly, both of us knew) we were right. Neither of us was willing to back down. Tempers flared. Words were said. Feelings were hurt. The whole situation seemed hopeless. Truthfully, I started to wonder if maybe our marriage was hopeless, too.
In the midst of a particularly heated moment, my husband hit his emotional pause button and said one simple phrase that changed everything.
“Donna, I’m on your team.”
His words were like deflating the air out a balloon ready to pop. Suddenly, the pressure, which only moments before seemed unbearable, felt manageable.
I must have looked stunned because he repeated the words again. I’m on your team.
These four words gave us the ability to see each other—and the problem—with new eyes. We became advocates not adversaries. His words made us both realize the importance of keeping the problem the problem rather than making the person the problem. Though we still didn’t agree on everything, together we tackled the problem without destroying the person. Or our marriage.
Decades later we still keep this phrase tucked in our pocket. It’s a game changer.
2. How Can I Help?
Marriage would be a whole lot easier without stress. But marriage means managing money, kids, work, schedules, responsibilities and household chores. Not to mention the added burdens of illness, holidays, in-laws, job changes and moves.This stuff is just part of life. For everyone.
But one phrase can lower the stress: How can I help?
These four words allow marriage partners to function as just that—partners.
“How can I help?” puts real-life feet to the biblical mandate that we not merely look out for our own personal interests, but also the interests of others.
Whether the help your spouse needs comes in the form of listening without trying to fix the problem (“I just need you to listen while I vent”), or help with the kids or the house (“Can you put the kids to bed while I take a bath?”), or a little time to refuel their emotional, spiritual or social tank (“Would you mind if I played golf this weekend?”), using the phrase “How Can I Help?” communicates genuine care and commitment to our partner’s well-being. Even better, our efforts to help, turn out to actually be helpful. It’s a win-win.
3. Let’s Pray about It
Decision-making can be difficult for many couples. Too often conversations turn into “this is what I think” vs. “this is what you think” variety. When couples agree, this strategy may work fine, but when they don’t, a simple decision can lay the groundwork for World War III. And while it’s important to share thoughts and feelings—it’s vital, even—often thoughts and feelings are better shared after a couple has prayed.
Prayer unites a couple on the spiritual level, which lays the groundwork for unity on the emotional, mental and physical ones. Prayer expresses dependence on God and leads to interdependence between spouses.
The phrase “let’s pray about it” means decisions aren’t all about what he wants, or all about what she wants, but about what God wants. “Let’s pray about it” means we’re willing to allow God to unite us from the inside, out.
God created this beautiful, wonderful, messy thing called marriage. He wants our marriage to thrive even more than we do. Is marriage always easy? No. But with the help of these three simple phrases, it can be a whole lot easier. It can be like God intended.
Donna Jones is a national speaker who travels from coast to coast helping women find and follow God in real, everyday life. She’s the author of Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God, Taming Your Family Zoo and Raising Kids with Good Manners. She resides in southern California with her pastor hubby and their three kids. She loves a good cup of coffee, great conversation and laughing until her sides hurt. For more on her books, ministry or free resources, visit Donna at www.donnajones.org.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 14, 2016