Is It Their Issue or Our Issue?


Issues between husband and wife can pop up anywhere over just about anything. For example, a couple gets in a discussion over their son’s poor grades. The wife wants the husband to spend more time with the boy and help him with his homework; the husband is under tremendous pressure at his job and is having to work a lot of overtime. He says there is no time to help.

The discussion quickly becomes a real issue. They go back and forth, getting louder and louder, stepping on each other’s air hose as they make their points to win the argument. Finally they go to bed angry, not speaking to each other, and definitely on the Crazy Cycle.

Typically, a wife feels unloved, and can end up reacting in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. A husband feels disrespected, and can end up reacting in ways that feel unloving to his wife. Though both need love and respect equally, the felt need during conflict apparent reflects the Crazy Cycle.

This Crazy Cycle is based on Ephesians 5:33 where God commands husbands to love and wives to respect. In other words, apparently it is easy for a husband to appear unloving and a wife to appear disrespectful so God commands against this propensity.

Examples like the one above are legion among married couples. Questions, problems, and decisions come up daily (sometimes it seems hourly), but if they grow into arguments, they become issues that sometimes lead to all-out battles. At this point, air hoses are almost always being pinched to some degree, but the issue being addressed is not the real issue at all.

At the bottom of any issue that is causing conflict is the deeper issue of a lack of Love and Respect.  This is what causes the spirit of our spouse to deflate, like an air hose deflates.

The key to cracking the communication code is realizing your mate always hears with different hearing aids and sees with different sunglasses. When your spouse deflates before your eyes, instead of just defending yourself by saying, “That’s your problem,” admit that it’s always also your problem. What you have said has either sounded unloving to your wife or disrespectful to your husband. Instead of helplessly or unwisely allowing the Crazy Cycle to spin, you must seek to stop it.

Bottom line, stop saying, “That’s your issue.” Jesus said you and your spouse are “no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:6), which means it’s always our issue.

How are you learning to say, “This is our issue” not just “that’s your issue”?

-Dr. E

Read about this in the Language of Love & Respect page 107

The Language of Love & Respect
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