Reframing Problems When You're Married
“United you will be more than a match for your enemies. But if you quarrel and separate, your weakness will put you at the mercy of those who attack you.” Aesop
If you have tension in your marriage, I know it's not your problem. I also happen to know it's not your spouse's issue. The problem definitely belongs to both of you.
Of course, the validity of that statement may not FEEL real, but it is true.
You can't be linked with someone without absorbing the impact of whatever path they are walking. You are part of a team. If your spouse has a problem, so do you.
If the wife is miserable in her job, the husband feels it. When the husband is struggling with depression, the wife is part of the journey. If one spouse is perpetually discontent, the other shares in the tension.
And so it goes...
Billy and I spend a good deal of time with newlyweds, and recently one couple described how they reframe every issue as a "team" issue. They practice being united by seeing trials as being a test of "them."
The don't identify the problem as a "her" or "his" thing.
They refuse to put the problem between them.
They decide every struggle will be a team struggle.
The change is a subtle, but important exercise of "reframing," where they look at trials through a lens of "how can we work together?" rather than isolating a challenge as a dilemma for him or for her.
When she can't figure out how to blend work and home, he doesn't let her wrestle through the situation alone. When he is tapped out with the needs of his demanding family, she's there to help figure out a new approach. If the kids are going through a season of trials, they create a coping strategy together.
While they have different roles in problem solving, they look at the trouble as something they tackle together.
In short, they talk about their challenges in an "us against the world" kind of way.
I love this approach and think the newlyweds have something to teach the oldyweds!