What about it? Have you ever been frustrated with your spouse about a particular issue that just keeps coming up over and over? Have you had prolonged periods of dialogue (arguing) that end with you telling yourself,
“That’s it! I’ve had it. I am so done talking about this. I’ll not say another word. It’s no use. Nothing’s going to change. Just forget about it.”
You vow that’s the last time you’ll bring it up because it’s futile. You resolve to yourself that you just don’t care.
“That’s it! I just don’t care.”
An apathetic spirit becomes your “safe place”. You tell yourself you don’t care and at least for a while, your feelings are dulled. If you don’t care, there is nothing to be anxious about, nothing to work through. Nothing to frustrate you again…..
The “apathy coping mechanism” is a strategy employed by many faced with relational impasses. We use it to shield ourselves from the hurt of dealing with a nagging problem with our spouse. It’s similar to putting medication on an open wound to numb the pain, but ignoring the cause of the wound. We self-medicate with apathy to avoid the underlying issues that are causing the pain.
So how do we deal with a nagging issue that just seems impossible to resolve?
Here are several steps you can take to begin the journey to resolution:
- Pray – Understand that an ongoing problem decreases the closeness you experience as a couple. Separation is a spiritual issue. You need to take the matter to God in prayer. Ask for wisdom and understanding. Ask for His direction.
- Commit – Renew your commitment to your relationship. Confirm in your heart there is no issue so big that it should divide you as a couple. Commit to work on restoring your relationship. Commit daily to not let an issue be divisive and destroy closeness with your spouse.
- Examine – In your time of prayer, ask God to open your heart to introspection. Ask Him to show you if there is something in you that needs to be revealed. Are you the one that needs to change?
- Ask – Ask for uninterrupted time to communicate with your spouse. Confirm your love for your spouse. Share your desire to restore your relationship to wholeness and to work though the issue so that there is nothing between you. Pray together, asking God to bless your efforts. Then work together to find a selfless resolution. Be open to compromise, creative alternatives, and to confessing your own culpability. Allow a generous amount of time to work through to a mutually acceptable solution, which may take weeks, months, or longer. Be patient with each other. It takes time to resolve a complex issue.
Set your mind to not let frustration fatigue divide your relationship. Earnestly work at issues that keep you from closeness…. So that your joy may be complete.