Marriage Staff Meeting: Navigating the Ups and Downs
Life is full of ups and downs – both positive and painful events. And since these events are inevitable, your partner needs a companion who knows how to respond to the emotions that accompany the craziness that life can bring.
Gratefully, Scripture is our guide. We are told to offer emotional comfort to those who are hurting and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. “When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow” (Romans 12:15).
For most of us, the sharing of sorrow is the hardest. So here are a few tips to guide your responses: When your partner is hurting, they need a healing, helpful response rather than the typical, unproductive ones. Some unproductive responses are listed below. If your spouse is feeling alone, sad, disappointed or experiencing any kind of emotional pain, they don’t need:
- Facts, Logic, Reasons or Analysis – The reason that probably happened was…
- Advice – Here’s what you need to do… Don’t you know that…
- Criticism – If would just… Next, time you need to be more…
- Complaint – Oh, you think that’s bad, let me tell you about the time that…
- Ignoring/Changing the Subject – Have you picked up the dry cleaning?
- Pep-Talk – You’re going to be OK. This is going to make you stronger!
Now set aside some time to do the Word – Here’s how to do Romans 12:15!
Ask your partner the following questions: “Sweetheart, what are some areas of your life in which you feel alone? Are there any ways you’ve been celebrating, and you need me to celebrate with you? Are there any ways that you’ve been hurting alone?”
Listen carefully: If your spouse is alone in some kind of celebration, you’ll want to celebrate. Your response might sound like: “Oh, I’m so glad for you.” “I’m really happy to know that…” “I’m thrilled to hear that…”
If your spouse is alone in some of painful emotion, you’ll want to share words of comfort and compassion. Your response might be similar to these: “Sweetheart, it hurts me to hear you say that…” “I’m so saddened to know that…” “I feel a lot of compassion for you…”