Do you ever feel that you just can’t wait to get a problem fixed? There’s a gnawing tension in your relationship and you just can’t let it rest. “We just need to discuss this some more and get it resolved. I know I can get her to see what I’m talking about and she will understand and we can get this behind us. I know it’s creating tension and there are unspoken feelings that are getting in the way of us being close. Why can’t we just get this resolved now?”
I’m reminded of a time when we worked on one of those “impossible” puzzles. You know the kind where they take a panoramic picture of hundreds of buildings and every piece in the puzzle is exactly the same shape and size. So you first look for the edge pieces and build the frame of the puzzle. At least we know that it has four corners. The point is that we make progress. We start with the obvious pieces and then work, sometimes slowly, to find a piece here and another there. These puzzles often stretch our patience and it’s understood that we probably won’t get it done in a day. It may take several days or even weeks to get it finished, but with patience and persistence we can usually get it together.
Deep rooted relationship issues also take the same patience and persistence. If we attempt to solve them with a mindset that they can be quickly resolved, we get frustrated and tempted to withdraw and give up. Then we try to cope by ignoring the issue since we can’t get it fixed quickly. When it surfaces again, we once again have a hurry-up attitude and a quick fix mentality that really sabotages our ability to be successful at finding a long term resolution.
Men especially want resolution right away. They particularly dislike leaving problems unresolved. So they approach issues with a fix it mentality and by that they mean “fix it now”.
The key here is patience and an understanding that incremental progress is good. Just like the puzzle, we need to start with some basics.
- First of all, understand that most issues should not be bigger than your commitment to your relationship.
- Try to remember all the positive things in your relationship with your spouse and get the issue in proper perspective.
- Be thankful for even small changes in the direction of resolving the issue.
- Shift perspective and empathize with what your spouse is feeling. This will help keep you from falling into the trap of a self-centered point of view.
- Be thankful.
Yes, even when it takes time to work through our thorny issues, we need to be thankful for our spouse. Neither of you are perfect and both of you need to extend grace to each other. Make it a priority to love each other and the time needed to finish the puzzle and resolve the issue won’t seem so overwhelming.