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Stalemate Stalemate
    by Byron Ware

    As I write this article our presidential election is still on hold. One of the reporters threw out the word “stalemate” in his description. With this stalemate, you have two very unhappy sides, waiting, wanting to move on but bogged down and not able to be agreeable.

    When I heard this word, I thought about marriage and relationships. Stale-Mate. I thought that this was a great analogy for what happens to so many couples.

    What causes a “stale-mate?” There can be a number of issues, but I have narrowed it to four major issues.

  • Routine — After the honeymoon comes real life and days run into months and into years. As time goes by we run too hard and fast in parallel lives; lives that take us apart. Because we are so busy, we don’t communicate effective with the one we love. Sometimes these parallel lives do not have enough connecting points.

  • A Lack of Conflict Resolution — As I have written in some of my other articles, conflict can be a doorway to deeper intimacy. The problem is sometimes we do not know how to resolve issues fairly or with compromise. Repeated conflict with no resolution leads to withdrawal. When any spouse goes into withdrawal the marriage is stagnate, deteriorating, dying.

  • Taking Each Other for Granted — Lack of Respect / Honor — We start out dating putting on our best manners, our best “face” and we inject romance. Our lives keep us busy and apart and this causes conflict. We don’t seem to work on conflict resolution like we should, and then we begin to take each other for granted. The tone of our conversation shows a lack of respect, honor, and love for one another.

  • Lack of growth — Maturity and growth should be a huge part of marriage. If we are both encouraging the best out of each other, we are making strides to be better people. That doesn’t mean just socially either, we should be growing spiritually as well. The problem many times is that you hear, “They have grown apart.” Growth should be a “together” movement that intertwines hearts even closer.

What is the solution?
    So what is the solution for “stale-mates?” Jesus said it this way in the second greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What does it mean to love someone “as yourself” in marriage? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend in the book Boundaries in Marriage define it this way:

  1. You so deeply identify with your spouse that you feel the effects of your own behavior on your spouse,
  2. You think first of making your spouse’s life better,
  3. You want the best for your spouse even when your spouse can’t see what that is.

    You might be saying, “This kind of love costs too much.” I remember a preacher that said, “If you don’t ever want to hurt, then don’t ever love. Jesus lived the ultimate life of love for others and look what it got him.”

    As the candidates, and the world sit in this stalemate, all bogged down, let’s remember that our marriages don’t have to be. We can recommit to a love by loving and honoring that person as ourselves. Another way you might appreciate that mate more is to take out paper and write down all things you appreciate about them. I know, I know, you have probably done this in the past. But, hey, what’s wrong with a recount?

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Title: "Stalemate"
Author: Byron Ware
Publication Date: November 28, 2000



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