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I urge you to read the book to go into greater detail on these strategies, but you can get a good idea of what to do just from this short list. Buried anger is poison to you physically as well as spiritually - A very large iceberg. So begin making efforts to work on your own unresolved anger and I believe you will find your relationship improving significantly.
In that fearless moral inventory of ourselves, we must balance our expectations with reality. Our previous column stressed the importance of communicating your expectations with your loved ones. We must balance our expectations with this fact: "The wider the gap between what we expect and the reality of what we experience, the greater the potential for discouragement and fatigue." Here are the three steps Gary Smalley recommends in balancing your expectations:
Once we have taken responsibility for ourselves by doing an exhaustive moral inventory, removed that buried anger, and balanced expectations with reality, it is time to admit our wrong. We need to admit it to ourselves, to God, and to those we have hurt. God wants you to lean on him for strength and here is your chance to show your faith in him. Being honest and asking for forgiveness is hard work.
It is possible that we can better ourselves, but our spouse may never respond positively. If this happens, you are still a better person than before, but now with a new love for life. What is more likely is that your spouse will be blown away when he/she realizes that you have taken the responsibility for your own happiness as well as bettering yourself? This will remove a huge iceberg between the two of you.
Bottom line, here are the key facts: We can't change other people. We can choose to make changes in ourselves. As changes occur in ourselves, people usually adjust their responses and choices according to our new behavior. Our relationship is then changed.
Slow down, take responsibility, change your course, remove that iceberg, and take a better route. The captain of this change of course must be that person in the mirror!
Resources: Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley. Gary Smalley has authored 14 award-winning, best selling books. He also has video tapes, cassette tapes and still does seminars. His web site offers all the mentioned resources as well as a monthly article.
If Only You Would Change: What to Do When Your Marriage is Not What You Thought it Would Be by Mark J. Luciano and Christopher Merris is currently out of print. If you go to Amazon, they say "if you place an order we may be able to find you a used copy within 1-3 months." Maybe we can get a reprint on this book started!
Byron and Lisa Ware work enriching marriages in their home congregation at Richland Hills Church of Christ. Byron is a Certified Network Engineer and Lisa is a school teacher, who specializes in reading enrichment.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
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Article copyright © 1998, Byron Ware. Used by permission.
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