Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Healthy Marriage Characteristic #2

Both avoid grudges by keeping short accounts with the other.

by Ed Wimberly, Ph.D.
There’s nothing like a grudge to drive a wedge in relationships between people who otherwise love and care for each other. Whether in a professional relationship, a friendship, a relationship between parent and child, or in a marriage, grudges can damage and even destroy relationships.

There is probably no relationship that holding a grudge can wreak havoc in more than in our marriage. And ironically, when we hold a grudge, the fallout that occurs from not keeping short accounts does more damage to the very relationship we value the most.

Husbands and wives who want to protect their marriage from the potential destruction of unspoken resentment and frustrations make it a priority to keep short accounts with each other; they speak and deal with what ever it is that is bothering them in order to clear the air. Of course, it is important to first consider whether the issue really does matter before addressing it (take a look back on characteristic #1 of a healthy marriage), but once they determine that it really does matter, they address their concern.

So since dealing with important and potentially destructive issues can have such positive results in our marriage, what interferes with our keeping short accounts? I suppose laziness or indifference are both possibilities. What I have found however, is that there are several other reasons behind our temptation to sweep under the rug what should actually be brought into the light and addressed. Here are just a few that come to mind:

-Fear of the response we might get from the other;
-we may be convinced that airing our grievance will do no good;
-we may have been taught to not complain, but to “suck it up and move on”;
-we may hold the misconception that if we have a gripe or complaint, then our marriage must
have serious flaws-flaws that we might not want to face;
-we may believe that if we complain, then we must be selfish.

There are no doubt other reasons we may resist the idea of keeping short accounts, but whatever the reasons for doing so, it is important to keep in mind the damage over time that may occur. Simply stated, there is no room in a healthy marriage for holding a grudge and the only way to avoid doing so is to keep short accounts about the things that really matter.

As always, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and ideas.


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