In the first session, I learned that Prem had had a difficult childhood, his father was an alcoholic and his mother had had an extra marital affair. Prem grew up with a great desire to have a home filled with joy and peace, unlike the home he grew up. Julie, his wife, had also had a difficult childhood. She always wanted the kind of marriage where her husband would provide for her and she would be a home maker as she had always desired to be. When they began to build their marriage, things did not work the way they desired or planned. Their relationship was turning bitter; Prem was now an angry and agitated man. Julie was depressed and upset, disappointed about how her life had turned out and was even considering leaving the marriage. What went wrong?
Having come from difficult backgrounds, their expectations were running unrealistically high. Their past had put too much pressure onto their present. Their unresolved bitterness towards others in their past was impacting their relationship. I thank God that they were both willing to seek help early rather than allowing their issues to destroy their marriage.
In the early years of marriage, when emotions are running high, we tend to tolerate each other’s behavior or opinions to a great extent, but as time goes by, we begin to lose patience and respond negatively to each other. If we don’t mend our relationship at the right time, it causes deterioration in the marriage and one unresolved conflict leads to another, slowly creating barriers which ultimately lead to a complete loss of oneness and intimacy ending often in separation or divorce.
Forgiving one another requires a heart to see the other empathetically and to understand the reason behind their reactions and expectations. When we are in a conflict situation, our defenses go up to such an extent, we fail to see any good in our spouse. Honestly, people become so obsessed about their own issue and their rights and they fail to see the other in an empathetic manner.
Is there a hope for a marriage like Prem and Julie? Yes, there is. Prem and Julie have been moving towards a better marriage in our counseling sessions. They recognize some basic truths about marriage, their priorities, their obsession with their own dreams and rights. They have begun to apply the truth of God’s unchanging Word into their marriage. Conflicts are not a signs of a weak marriage, neither are they a signs of strong marriage.
The ability to resolve is what causes growth in a relationship and I believe every conflict can be resolved provided both the parties involved are open to see each other’s failings and encourage the other.
After 22 years of my marriage, my wife and I still have conflicts and they help us understand each other better and grow in intimacy. As a principle, we don’t allow ‘the sun go down on our anger’ as the Bible says.
If you see conflicts go beyond your ability to handle, it’s my humble plea to get help from a good godly counselor at the earliest. Our national helpline can be used to direct you to the right person.
Our Home Shanti help-line number is 1860-425-6555. We hope and pray it will bring Shanti to your home.