I’ve been increasingly aware of how I model relationships for my kids, and how overcoming the challenges within my relationships, helps them learn how to overcome the challenges that they experience in theirs.
As all kids do, a couple of my children were fighting during their play. It was a battle of wills, each focusing on their own wants instead of focusing on how they could come to an understanding.
Soon, they were coming to me, each complaining about how mean the other was being. I had a decision to make. I could fix their problem for them, or I could teach them how to solve their own problems.
For reference, in this situation I was helping my 9 and 6 year old, but I still would have done something similar for my 3 year old.
I will not always be available to my children to solve all of their problems for them, so I told them that they were going to have to work it out. I’ve spent many of their little fights and arguments going through the motions with them, so this time I told them that they knew what to do and to go work it out.
Before they left to go work it out, I gave them a reminder. I asked them, “how do mommy and daddy work things out?” “We don’t always agree, do we?” “But we do listen to each other, don’t we?” “How can you two listen to each other to find a solution that both of you can agree on?”
I wasn’t yet finished with this reminder when I could already see their little minds at work. Before I could even finish, they started off to go work it out. Soon they were both grinning from ear to ear, proud that they were able to work it out on their own.
You know, it wasn’t always like this though.
There was a time when I would not have been able to point to mine and my husband’s example as a way to work things out with others. But God is good, and He has softened both of our hearts over the last 10 years so that we are open and willing to learn to understand each other instead of being stubborn and at odds with each other.
This is not the time to start pointing fingers and saying how your spouse will never change, or never listens, or will never understand. Quite honestly those are just excuses that give him or her power over your actions. Instead, ask yourself, “what do I need to do to change my perspective in a healthy way?” I say in a healthy way, because I’m not asking you to let your spouse walk all over you. Instead, how can you be the first to listen and to truly understand where your spouse is coming from? Also pray for your spouse, ask the Holy Spirit to change his or her heart, so that you can move forward in peace and goodwill toward one another. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little while – keep hope in knowing that God can and does work miracles!