The East coast is getting pounded with hurricane Sandy as I write this. The winds are increasing in speed, the rain is pouring down, the creeks, rivers and tide waters are rising as the power companies are on standby alert. It’s frightening and exciting all at the same time. We’ve seen storms before, as well as hurricane’s, but this is to be “one of the worst.” I have prepared with tying everything down, bringing items into the garage, storing food and water and purchasing extra gasoline. Not sure what else to do other than wait it out, pray and watch out for our neighbors’ needs. Marriage storms are a bit similar, i.e., unpredictable at times, can’t really know the intensity, and unaware of the potential damages forthcoming. The main difference may be in getting caught off guard due to the fact that we don’t possess an internal doppler radar system for predicting marriage storms.
Storms, however, are unavoidable within our marriages. When two people are close enough to see and feel emotional rises and experience power and control losses, damages may occur. In the eye of the storm (or heat of the argument) we tend to become short with one another and allow words to be spoken that under normal circumstances we would never say. Emotions seem to force the parts of us that we like to keep hidden, those parts that only relational hardship and pressure will release. We push back in an offensive manner only to find a stronger wind blowing from our partner against us. What do we do? Getting louder accentuates emotional response for yourself and your mate. Proverbs tells us that a quiet answer turns away anger. But a quiet answer doesn’t really get our point across. Ephesians says to speak the truth, but simply speaking the truth can be mean-spirited. What’s the key? Speaking to the storm in a quiet tone of voice, telling the truth with love and grace as an anesthesia and maintaining a spirit of love will increase your chances for minimal damages. When the damages are minimal, there’s a lot less clean up work.